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Second Chances

07th October 2019

We believe in the power of education, whether it involves language learning or simply learning how to make a contribution to society

Education doesn’t have to end at sixteen, eighteen or twenty-one. It doesn’t have to end at all, and sometimes lessons have to wait until we’re ready to learn them. The Inside-Out education programme delivers a learning experience to prison students along with university students, giving all of them the same reading and assessment tasks and bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to discuss academic questions and wider social issues.

Since Inside-Out began in 1997 over 38,000 students across Europe, the United States and Australia have benefited from this programme. Students are invited to walk in the shoes of others, to experience the pleasure of learning and in engaging in courses such as African-American studies and Gender Studies, to get to the heart of what it means to be a good citizen in an inclusive society.

Over 150 higher educational institutions are official Inside-Out partners, and the benefits could not be clearer. It’s never too late to change your future, and people of all ages have a great deal to gain from the Inside-Out programme, but for young prisoners studying alongside their contemporaries the lesson is even more pertinent. A quarter of all prisoners in the UK are in their teens and twenties. Giving them a productive and non-judgmental learning experience side by side with outside university students offers them a path to self-esteem, self-improvement and rehabilitation. It offers them a second chance.

Conversis Project Manager Alice Obradovic is a recent participant in the Inside-Out programme. As an undergraduate she experienced a mixed-learning environment with prisoners and found the experience thoroughly rewarding:

“I believe strongly in the value of multilingual communication and every day I see the benefits of immersing yourself in a second language and culture. But before we can appreciate a second culture, we should learn to value our own. Inside-Out helps people of all backgrounds to do exactly that. It gives them a platform to do more and to be more. It’s a programme that delivers precious opportunities and I’m proud to have played a part in it”.

We believe in the power of education and communication, whether it involves language learning and translation or simply learning how to make a contribution to society. Here’s to second chances. 


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