A leading criminologist – and former prisoner – is to present an interactive workshop at Wrexham Glyndwr University challenging media narratives on prisons.
Dr David Honeywell, an academic at Durham University who served time in prison in the 1980s and 90s, will be presenting the workshop in the University’s Scale-Up teaching space on Wednesday, July 10 and using his experiences – and those of other prisoners – to challenge some of the stereotypes of prison life.
He said: “It’s going to be a fascinating day – anyone who has an opinion about prisons should attend. It will help people explore and gain further insight into the consistent narrative rolled out by the media which the public believes – and let them ask if what they read in the papers is true.
“As a former prisoner – turned academic – I have experienced the pains of imprisonment first hand, but many of these pains are experienced differently by each individual.
“I do not speak for those who experienced much harsher regimes, longer sentences and have had harder lives than I – but I can relay their experiences through what I have learned from them.”
Dr Honeywell published a book, Never Ending Circles, about his life and experiences in prison and beyond, and will be discussing some of the experiences he highlights in the book – such as slopping out – during the workshop.
The title of the workshop he is taking part in is itself taken from a classic 1950s Criminology text, Gresham Sykes’ Society of Captives – which describes a number of ‘pains of imprisonment.’
However, Dr Honeywell believes little has altered for prisoners since Skyes’ original book came out decades ago.
He added; “The point to this workshop is actually that nothing has changed except prisoners now face different pains. For example, they no longer ‘slop out’ but there is a massive drugs problem which didn’t exist during my early
days in prison in the 80s but had begun to emerge during my second sentence in the 90s.
“The media impression is that prisons are like holiday camps – but with a record number of suicides, homicides, drug abuse, sexual assaults and bullying in today’s prisons, I wonder what sort of holiday camps these journalists have visited.”
Glyndwr Criminology Lecturer Jo Prescott added: “We are delighted to be welcoming David back to Glyndwr and working alongside him to put this event on. The workshop will be run in our state-of-the-art SCALE-UP room and will be highly interactive – it promises to be a fascinating afternoon.
The workshop will run between 1pm and 3pm on Wednesday, July 10 – to find out more and to secure a free place visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pains-of-imprisonment-workshop-tickets-62348245280
It is being run by Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Criminology Society alongside the university’s Criminology department. Criminology at WGU was recently ranked 3rd in the UK and the top in Wales in the Guardian University Guide 2020.
Find out more about the Criminology and Criminal Justice degree offered by the department here: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Undergraduatecourses/CriminologyandCriminalJustice/