Students discovered first-hand how the prison system works and what punishment truly means when they visited Bathurst Gaol recently.
Law and Justice students were able to explore the prison grounds and prisoner cellblocks, giving them insight into the industry.
Third year student Paul McGuire said the day was useful to students giving them a better understanding of the prison system before they enter the justice industry themselves.
“I am grateful for the experience, as it has in some ways prepared me for the challenges relevant to my own career aspirations in law enforcement and the management of criminal offenders,” Mr McGuire said.
The prison houses both low and medium security prisoners, with many programs in place to help prisoners earn an income and develop skills. Prisoners are assigned jobs such as food preparation, gardening and laundry services.
Contrary to popular belief, Mr McGuire says “contemporary prison lifestyle is not that out of the ordinary”.
It is, however, “a stricter hostile environment” than the students originally thought.
Other programs include the Aboriginal Arts Centre for Indigenous inmates and the Dogs for Diggers program, which gives more privileged inmates the opportunity to train assistance dogs to help treat people with mental illnesses.
The students were given access to these programs and were also able to explore prison grounds, the female holding cells and intensive care units.
Mr McGuire believes that the visit left the students with a different view of the prison system than they previously held.
“It is a highly complex industry and my understanding of it has expanded significantly,” he said.