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Students sample life in prison cells

FROME College students were “arrested and taken to prison” – but it was all part of a learning experience of what life would be like for real prisoners.
On the experience day, police arrived at the Aspire unit of Frome College at 8.45am sharp, to meet a group of students from years 9 and 10.
Tonia Rollason, learning mentor said, “To make the day feel authentic, the police arrested the students, handcuffed them and took their DNA with swabs. The students were issued with cards with the offences on which they were being arrested for.
“Aaron Parish, Jancis Cowley, Ben Prior, Chantelle Hughes, Maisy Appleby, DJ Baulf and Jake Wheatley were then placed into the back of a riot van and taken to Shepton Mallet prison. The journey took about 25 minutes and it was a beautiful day with blue skies and birds singing.
“We arrived to a stark, dark grey-looking building that didn’t look inviting at all – it looked like something out of a horror set! Although the prison has been closed for four years, the students were booked in as though they were inmates by prison officers who had worked at the prison when it was open. We were led down what seemed like 20 flights of stairs – it was like we were going down to the bowels of hell. One student said: “The prison was eerie, and felt very old in places”.
“The students were very interested in visiting C Block, which was where the Kray brothers had been housed. Following this, each student was handcuffed and placed in a cell. They were in the cells for around half an hour with tasks to complete, showing them what it was like to be locked up with no outlook.
“The tour continued with interesting facts from staff, and students were led into a room which was different from the rest of the prison – it had carpet on the floor and comfortable chairs. Here they learned what hard labour was by sorting the nuts out from the bolts – there were thousands of them!
“After a very basic lunch, we finished the tour with a look at the daunting hanging chamber – needless to say, the group asked lots of questions about this!”

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