• Question: How do you think working in a prison has affected you? Has it changed your perception on prisoners and why they do what they do?

    Asked by Lyla to John, Claire on 14 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Claire Melia

      Claire Melia answered on 14 Jun 2018:

      I’m not sure if this question was meant for both John and I, but i’ll answer it either way! I did study criminolgoy in my undergraduate degree and actually became really passionate about treatment of prisoners in prison. I think it’s very easy to forget that prison and the loss of freedom is the punishment and that prisoners shouldn’t be further punished whilst in the prison system itself. I think this is really hard for a lot of people to understand, but I have worked with people on a forensic section and they’re not neccessarily terrible people. There are a lot of circumstances that are involved in many people’s crimes and it’s more complicated than saying they are a bad person because they committed a crime which is the way I think a lot of people see those in prison. John would definitely have more to say in this area though!

      So I don’t work in a prison, but in a psychiatric hospital. Since working there i’ve found that it’s really helped me to realised that mental health can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter about race, age, gender, education, class, anything! Mental health is something which anyone can experience in their life and it’s so important to make sure that we have the help available for people when they need it. People with mental health disorders aren’t scary or weird or even different and this is something you realise by spending time with people. I think this would be the same for most prisoners too!

      Hope that sort of answered your question from my experience 🙂