We were delighted to have hosted part of the first-ever symposium held in UK prisons last month. "Insider Prison Perspectives in Europe and the Americas" was organised by Convict Criminology at the University of Westminster. This four-day event took place between 27th and 30th of June, in 3 prisons and at the University of Westminster.
The event delved into topics such as lived experience, prison reform, the transformative role of prison education, and reflections from Prisoner—University Partnerships across the world. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions, contribute to the conversation, and connect with like-minded individuals.
HMP Pentonville hosted the second day of this event, 28th of June, part of the groundbreaking Making Links project between the University of Westminster and HMP Pentonville.
Novus colleagues, Jose Aguiar and Helena Baptista welcomed academics who are involved in similar projects in Brazil, USA, Argentina and Italy.
An inspiring day, learning about the power of education
Throughout the day, we had the privilege of hearing from academics, inside learners, prisoners and individuals who have been involved in the project, including project graduates, Westminster alumni, and passionate teaching assistants. Their stories and experiences truly showcased the transformative power of this initiative.
We were also honoured to have Femi Olufemi Laryea-Adekimi from the Prison Reform Trust joining us. He took part in the project back in 2019, when he was a prisoner at HMP Pentonville.
Creating opportunities for understanding different experiences
Inside learners that completed the Prisons and Desistance Level 3 course, delivered at HMP Pentonville in partnership with the University of Westminster, participated in panel discussions with outside learners and academics. Inside learners shared their learning experiences of the Prisons and Desistance course, part of Making Links project, followed by an engaging floor discussion.
We also had an engaging panel discussion delving into a comparison of the prison experience in the UK, Italy, Brazil, and Argentina.
The insights shared were eye-opening and prompted meaningful conversations and it was clear from the stories of previous participants in the course, how much difference initiatives like this can make and how much they can change lives.