Wow, it’s been awhile. Please bare with me as i get back into the swing of writing as this might be a little rough at first.
In mid-october, my forensic psychology class took a week-long trip to Scotland. The first half of the week was spent in Glasgow where we visited a variety of organizations that focused on criminal offender rehabilitation. The most memorable organizations in Glasgow were Positive Prison and Kibble.
Positive Prison is an organization set up by ex-offenders to help offenders assimilate back into society by offering resources to help them with getting a bank account before they’re released, sets them up with different support groups, and other resources they may need to successfully assimilate back into society. This organization is unique in that it is made up of ex-offeneders who have been through the system and had to go through exactly what the offenders they aim to help are going through. A great thing that they do is they have someone from Positive Prisons waiting at the prison for the offender when they get out, because most times, they get out and have no one. During our meeting with Positive Prisons, we got to hear all about the organization and the ex-offenders told us their stories– which has had a lasting impact on me. We even got to here how they apply psychological research from a forensic psychologist we had met with earlier that week, which was really cool. We split up into smaller groups and each group spoke with an ex-offender and you could really tell they got out and turned their lives around and are now having a positive impact on other offenders’ lives.
The next organization that was one of my favorites was Kibble. Kibble is an organization that focuses on children in the system. Most of the time children are sent there to live during their trial but they can also be sentenced to Kibble to live their after their trials. They also house children in the foster care system and have different housing for the different reasons the children are there (foster care, criminal behavior, or criminal- like sexual behavior. We got to tour the facilities which was beneficial to see how they actually implement their practices rather than just hearing about it.
As a social activity on the way to Edinburgh, we stopped at Loch Lomond and canoed around the loch. It was a lot of fun, but very cold and my canoe almost tipped! The views were incredible, so it was easy to ignore the temperature.
Edinburgh. Edinburgh is by far one of my favorite cities I have visited in Europe so far. The buildings seem like history was frozen in time, and not like most major cities where most of the buildings have become modernized. The Edinburgh Castle is in the middle of the city and you can see it from almost anywhere in the city. While in Edinburgh, we did a city eat and drink walking tour and we went to the Edinburgh Prison.
The city walk was one of my favorite things because our guide was very knowledgable and gave us a lot of great info that I don’t think you’d typically get from just a google search of the city. We stopped at different restaurants and bars to taste traditional Scottish food and drink, such as haggis and blood pudding (tastes good, but I would recommend eating before you know what it is!) and whisky at the Scottish Whisky Society.
Visiting the Edinburgh Prison was an awesome experience, as I have not visited a prison before. We met with a prison manager and he explained how they run the prison and all of the logistics. At this prison, they separate different types of offenders into living quarters based on the type of offense, and their shirts are different colors for the different offense. For example, the sexual offenders live in their own ward and wear maroon colored shirts, and long term prisoners live in their own quarters and wear dark green shirts. A guard took us on a tour of the prison after our little lecture, which was super cool! We went to the sexual offender ward and got to look at a prisoners jail cell (which no joke looked almost the same as a college dorm room, the prisoner had music bumping and everything), then we met with the head prison guard and he told us about what his job looks like day-by-day at the prison. He was in charge of prisoner complaints and he read us some of them, and explained that most of them are pretty comical to read, but there are serious ones too that he must address. After, we got to meet with the prison psychologists that meet with the prisoners and that was really awesome! It was such a cool experience to visit this prison and it definitely gave me a different view on how prisons work and how American prisons could be changed.
All in all, Scotland has been one of my favorite experiences abroad and I would not hesitate to go back and visit as many times as I could (or maybe even move to Edinburgh ;D). My fellow classmates and I still reminisce about our trip and talk about how much we want to go back!
stay tuned for my next blog posts about my long break, moving to Copenhagen, and my thanksgiving break! i can’t believe there are only 16 more days until this experience is over!