A duo of academics from the University of Northampton have been recognised for their work to remove barriers to learning within prisons, with an award from Northampton’s High Sherriff.
Senior Lecturers in Criminology, Paula Bowles and Manos Daskalou have a longstanding partnership with HMP Onley, which sees a Criminology undergraduate degree module, Beyond Justice, delivered inside the prison walls for students from the Waterside campus and from within the Onley population. The High Sherriff commended the work of the University duo, alongside John Waters and Matt Truman from HMP Onley.
Speaking of the values of this learning partnership, High Sherriff, Nicholas Robertson DL, said: “We need to develop many more opportunities to bridge the gap between those in prison and the world outside. This seems essential if we are successfully going to make prisons places which people can ﬁnish their sentences and be supported in learning enough to manage successfully when they leave.
“The Beyond Justice module which Onley and the University have developed strikes me as immensely worthwhile and exactly the sort of thing which will both help rehabilitate some of those in prison and give students an extraordinary learning opportunity. On behalf of the Northamptonshire Community, I’d like to say congratulations – and most importantly, thank you.”
The partnership, which will enter its fifth year in September, has seen over fifty students work collaboratively on the module understand and explore criminological thinking. Speaking about the module, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Paula Bowles, said: “The Beyond Justice module is a very interesting learning experience; for although you have to go through many physical barriers at the prison to get to the classroom, once you’re learning, the students find those barriers disappear and it is a very equal experience, everyone is a student of the University of Northampton at that point and the discussion on the course content take over. That is something very special to be part of.”
Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Manos Daskalou, said: “We’re thrilled to have received this award from the High Sherriff, it is a very unexpected and humbling. The work with HMP Onley is powerful for the all the students involved in it. Each year we work with eight Onley students and eight from the undergraduate degree programme, both student groups find this truly transformative.”