Understanding the Barriers to and Educational Value of Student Participation in Prison Tours

Grant recipient: Danielle Murdoch, Department of Criminology

Project team: Sarah Stanley, research assistant

Timeframe: January 2017 to August 2017

Funding: $5875

Course addressed:

  • CRIM 213 Women and Justice
  • CRIM 241 Introduction to Corrections
  • CRIM 343 Correctional Practice

Final report: View Danielle Murdoch's final report (PDF)

Description: This project is designed to identify barriers to student participation in optional prison tours, student motivation to attend the prison tours, how student participation in prison tours contributes to their learning and understanding of course materials, and recommendations to improve future prison tours.

Questions addressed:

  • Why are students motivated to attend the tours?
  • What barriers prevent students from signing up to attend the tours?
  • Were students able to apply the concepts / weekly readings to various aspects of the tour?
  • What recommendations for improvements do students have for the instructor following their participation in the tour?
  • How did participation in the prison tour impact student learning and understanding of the course materials?  

Dissemination: I will share the final report with my colleagues in the School of Criminology who coordinate prison tours for their students, in addition to presenting the preliminary findings at the 2017 Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning. I will also submit an abstract to present the findings at the Western Society of Criminology conference in Long Beach, CA in 2018.

Keywords: Experiential learning; Barriers to participation in experiential learning; Prison tours; Carceral tours; Imprisonment; Pedagogy