On Thursday 8th August, two year 11 Legal Studies classes and some Year 12 students headed off to Castlemaine to partake in a prison education program at Loddon Prison. We thought that it looked like a retirement home but as soon as we entered we saw the concrete, barbed wire and the rock paths designed to stop prisoners escaping. The prison we visited was a medium security with 409 prisoners. We got the opportunity to speak to four prisoners of varying offences. One of the first ones we spoke to was a man who had killed his wife while affected by drugs and alcohol. He had been in prison 13 times before. He talked to us about the dangers of being addicted. He had started drinking at the age of 14 and never stopped. He was sentenced 17 years and had already served 8.5 years.
The second prisoner we spoke to was a young bloke in his twenties having committed many armed robberies as he owed a man some money for drugs. The third prisoner we spoke to was a man who had been sentenced to dangerous driving killing a person. He was speeding when he had an accident. His friend died at the scene. He was in a coma for two months and was later arrested. The last prisoner we spoke to was found guilty of fraud. He spoke to us a lot about the effects of his crime on himself and his family.
Overall it was a scary yet worthwhile experience as we got to do something few people are able to do. I think we all learnt that we need to be careful when making decisions and not to end up in jail.
By Abir Kezraj , M18