The Educational Value of Class Visits to Federal Prison

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Nicole Myers, School of Criminology

Project Team: Krystal Glowatski, research assistant

Timeframe: November 2015 to June 2016

Funding: $3,000

Course addressed: CRIM 343 â€“ Correctional Practice

Final report: View Nicole Myer's final project report (PDF)

Description: This project will examine the impact of prison tours on students’ perceptions of prison and to evaluate their learning experience. Students enrolled in CRIM 343 Correctional Practice are offered the opportunity to visit a federal prison. The visit is voluntary and students receive no grades for attendance. Through focus groups and written reflection, I want to get a sense of what students think about the opportunity to enter a federal penitentiary and to understand what the experience is like for them.

Questions addressed:

  • What motivates students to want to attend the prison visit?
  • What do students perceive/think about prison?
  • Do students see educational value in the prison visit?

Knowledge sharing: A final report will be presented to the Correctional Services of Canada and a summary report will be created for dissemination to participants.  I will also discuss my findings with my departmental colleagues. The findings from this study will be of interest to other faculty who are considering taking their class to visit a federal prison.  This opportunity for experiential learning also exposes students to institutions in which they may wish to work in the future.