On Thursday 10th November 2022, Year 12 & 13 Psychologists and Criminologists attended a True Life Conference at the Birmingham and Midlands Institute, alongside many other schools.
To start the day students had to design their own prison by considering carefully whether prisoners should be entitled to essential or luxury items. The host also asked students to consider whether prisons really rehabilitate criminals or whether they are there simply for retribution.
Shortly after this introduction, students heard from the first of the speakers, a man who had served time in an open prison having been convicted of multi-million pound Fraud. Students were shocked to hear that he changed his plea to guilty in a bid to receive a shorter sentence.
The second speaker was a serial thief and burglar who spoke about what it was like to be caught and his experience of the prison system. He also showcased some of the uniforms that prisoners are expected to wear.
The third speaker was a practicing Forensic Psychologist who explained their role within the criminal justice system. They also detailed some of the criminals they have worked with and the shocking confessions they had heard. It was interesting to hear how de-sensitised they were to hearing the most gruesome of criminal acts!
Finally, students were presented with a criminal case and asked to decide whether they were charged with manslaughter or murder. The speaker then revealed that the convicted murderer was present at the conference that day! The fourth speaker then explained the case and the charges brought against them. Students were shocked to be in the presence of a real life murderer but had many questions that they wanted to ask!
The day came to a close with a question and answer session, in which students could present their questions to any of the offenders they had heard from earlier in the day. It is safe to say that the students left buzzing about their real life criminal encounters. It was a truly memorable and humbling experience!