The Arts in Prisons event was amazing this afternoon. I’ve never seen a lecture theatre so full – I guess you could say it was a cell-out. (I know what you’re thinking, oh dear, anything but terrible puns...). Seriously though, I have never been so captivated by a talk as I was when previous inmate, Gary, told us about his love and passion for music.
The Irene Taylor trust runs several schemes to help those in prison to learn about music and help put their lives back on track.
Once the question and answer session began, there were a few questions that made me shift uncomfortably in my seat, and you could really feel the tension in the air. I remember some of them were, “Do you think that all prisoners deserve to have this opportunity?" and "Should they even have this chance in the first place?” Gary and Sara’s replies were that they aren’t judgmental so, regardless of what they’re serving time for, the prisoners deserve the chance to better themselves. As Gary says, “the punishment is loss of liberty. The prison sentence isn’t a punishment, it’s rehabilitation, to learn things and become a better person.” He then goes on to say, “It’s a bloody good thing to have in prisons,” which eased the tension slightly, though I was glad they left the questions there!
It was a very insightful hour in which I learnt a lot, especially about other people's opinions and attitudes towards criminals.