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Social Policy students visit Ripon Museums

Posted on 4 January 2016

Students experience a victorian prison and police station

prison cell

Students studying a range of degrees within the department including BA Social Policy, BA Applied Social Science Crime and Criminal Justice and BA Criminology visited Ripon Museums on Thursday 3rd December. The trip, organised by Ways of Knowing tutors, Dr Gernot Klantschnig and Dr Rachel Morris aimed to allow students who had spent the term taking a historical perspective of the criminal justice system to see for themselves what a Victorian police station and prison was like.

Students undertook a guided tour of the historic building which was originally used as Victorian Prison. The students got the opportunity to sit in a prison cell, hear the door slam shut and imagine the harsh conditions of Victorian prison regimes.

They also got to experience what hard labour was like through the use of the crank and the treadwheel (seen right), two things that had been discussed during seminars.

In the afternoon, students visited the court house to explore what happened in a court room in the 1800s; they took part in re-enacting a trial, led by two of Ripon Museums volunteers, where they were tasked with weighing up the evidence presented to reach a verdict of either guilty or not guilty.

ripon museum

First year BA Applied Social Science Crime and Criminal Justice student, Faye commented that: ‘The trip gave me a real insight into how the criminal justice system has developed.’

The trip gave me a real insight into how the criminal justice system has developed

WOK tutor Gernot Klantschnig, commented that: ‘our trip to the Ripon Museum was the climax of this term's Ways of Knowing module, which has focused on the history of crime and criminal justice. The students, Rachel and I clearly 'enjoyed' their chance to experience a Victorian prison and police station and the trip nicely illustrated the issues discussed in class.’