13 inmates complete Citizenship and Law Course at Cork Prison

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CCJHR) is very proud to report that it recently concluded its Second Annual Course on Citizenship and the Law in Cork prison. Thirteen inmates completed the short course, delivered by staff of the Law Faculty over a six week period in May / June 2009. Topics covered during the course included Family Law; the European Convention on Human Rights; EU Law; Immigration and Refugee Law; Criminal Justice and; the Irish Legal system.

The course is organised with the cooperation of the prison education service and the Governor of Cork prison. It is the only course of its kind taught within the prison service in Ireland and marks a unique collaboration between the CCJHR and Cork prison.

Building on similar initiatives in the U.S., the CCJHR and the prison education service hope to expand the current program in the next academic year, to create an innovative teaching space in which inmates of Cork prison and LLM Criminal Justice (clinical) students come together to study issues of crime, justice and human rights. ‘Teaching within the walls’ is a movement that developed within the U.S., to strengthen links between those inside and outside of the prison system. Behind this movement is the belief that university students and incarcerated women and men could mutually benefit in studying together as peers. From its beginning in Temple University, the ‘Inside-Out’ program has developed, and is now being expanded to universities throughout the U.S. with the support of the Soros Foundation. The aim of the program is not simply to transform legal education but to secure legal and policy changes through this process of dialogue and community outreach. As the programs vision statement puts it:

“We believe that those of us inside and outside of prison, by studying together and working on issues of crime, justice, and related social concerns, can catalyze changes that will make our communities more inclusive, just, and socially sustainable.”

Over the coming year, the CCJHR plans to develop links with the Inside Out program, and to explore opportunities for bringing the insights learned through this initiative to UCC.

For further information, contact course convenor, Dr Siobhán Mullally, s.mullally@ucc.ie, tel.021 490 2699