Stargaze from the Exercise Yard


CASE’s outreach activities have hit the news again!

BBC Wales Online are currently running a story on our Space Exploration course at Cardiff prison

The Difference Engine is hoping CASE’s man on the ground (as it were), Allan Trow, will be reporting on news from the first class next week.

Now THAT’S widening access!



    April 8, 2005

    At the risk of getting whacked over the head with a live trout by a lecturer the next time I walk past the CASE building… wouldn’t prisoners perhaps benefit more from a slightly more useful / pragmatic course? Something teaching skills that lead more directly to a job?

    Then again, some are on life sentences anyway, so I suppose educating them in whatever catches their fancy might not be bad after all… helps them pass the time…

    Mark Brake

    April 8, 2005

    Robert, I’m sure you won’t get whacked across the head next
    time you walk past. We believe in open discussion; its such a wonderful world, don’t you think?

    I believe that if we tell prisoners what they should or shouldn’t study that this is the same sort of patronising approach we
    get from the (appropriately named) “Chris Woodhead”: .

    No doubt their first time through the skills’n’career-driven
    education system was such a success they’ve found themselves where they are.

    Education not training, mate. Big difference. We educate
    people, we train pear trees.

    Allan Trow

    April 8, 2005

    H. M. P. Cardiff is an imposing building that could leave many
    with preconceptions about what lies behind those big doors.
    Unfortunately, if you do enter with preconceptions your
    experience within those confining walls will be unrewarding.
    Luckily for me, I have none, possibly due to the fact that I grew
    up in an area that saw many jail sentences handed down to my
    peers. It is these ???life??? experiences that prepared me for the
    environment into which I entered and removed any pompous
    and ignorant views that some individuals hold.

    Contained within these walls is a prime example of what Mark so
    eloquently refers to as ???education not training???. These
    individuals like myself who had had a bad experience of the
    education system during their teenage years (which undoubtedly
    resulted in their demise), overcoming life???s difficulties and
    returning to education in order to better their prospects on
    leaving this establishment. They do this through choice not via
    some promise of an easier life whilst ???inside???. Luckily for them
    organisations like CASE, CeLL (UoG) have the foresight to see
    that education for education???s sake can play a major role in
    redeveloping deprived areas and more importantly individuals,
    whatever their previous background.

    These individuals have been sentenced by a jury of their piers to
    serve a life???s imprisonment. It is therefore not my job or anyone
    else???s to judge their crimes or the person, to me they are just
    students and should be treated accordingly. This positive and
    open-minded attitude toward these prisoners then led me to
    encounter my most rewarding teaching experience so far.

    Obviously there were some disconcerting moments during the
    session, but not of the sinister kind. Prison nuances that have to
    be learnt. For example, the prisoners always refer to any
    authoritative figure as ???boss???; The doors perpetually being
    closed behind you and locked (should be tried elsewhere as your
    always ensured to have a captive audience). But once these
    nuances are learned and taken as daily events these prisoners
    are just the same as any other student. In fact I would go as far
    as to say that these individuals have the ability to contribute
    widely to society as a whole if given the chance on completion of
    their sentence. Hopefully, people who have led a privileged life
    can appreciate those individuals who have not been as fortunate
    as them, and should allow them the dignity of one more chance
    within society. Therefore, organisations like CASE working hand
    in hand with the prison service should take the initiative and
    present more opportunities for these individuals and others like

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