University students studying alongside incarcerated men/women behind prison walls

Dr Marietta Martinovic1, Marg Liddell1
1Rmit University, Melbourne , Australia

The Inside Out Prison Exchange Program has been delivered at two prisons in Victoria, Australia – Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and Marngoneet Correctional Centre since 2015. As part of this program at each prison, 15 incarcerated individuals together with 15 RMIT university students undertake a subject together as equals. Inside Out is an opportunity for people inside prisons to discuss their ‘lived’ criminal justice-related experiences with future criminal justice practitioners, providing personal insights into the operation and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. The evaluation of the program has shown that being given such a ‘voice’ shows incarcerated people that their crime need not define them, and hence enhances their transformative and re-integrative possibilities. This presentation outlines information from this evaluation, including the similarities and differences between the inside and outside students’ experience related to their knowledge of the criminal justice system, stereotypes and the values and challenges of the Inside Out program. The key finding was that student views of the criminal justice system, and each other, were challenged and changed often in unexpected ways.


Biography:

Dr Marietta Martinovic (BA, Sir John Minogue Medal, MA, APA, PhD) is a Senior Lecturer in Justice and Legal studies at RMIT University in Melbourne in Australia. She has been leading the development and implementation of the first Australian Inside Out Prison Exchange program, which simultaneously engages RMIT students and prisoners in university-level education. She has also been leading two prison-based Think Tanks in which RMIT students and prisoners directly contribute to Corrections Victoria’s policy-making processes related to reducing further offending and improving people’s quality of life both within and outside of prison. On the basis of teaching in prisons Marietta has received two RMIT Teaching Excellence Awards in 2017 – Deputy Vice Chancellor Education’s Award for Good Teaching and Educational Partnerships and Collaborations with Other Organisations. Her key research interests are electronic monitoring, incarceration and teaching in prisons.

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