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Former criminal and prison campaigner speaks to students

Monday 11 December 2017

A FORMER criminal who has become a prison reform campaigner spoke about his experiences to criminology students at the University of Salford.

Cody Lachey, who has served time in HMP Manchester – formerly Strangeways – and Forest Bank, gave a lecture to students who have been learning about the criminal justice system and criminology theories that address what causes and stops criminal behaviour.

Cody, who was released from his last prison sentence earlier in the year, has become a campaigner for penal reform and has appeared on radio stations and written in newspapers about his experiences behind bars as well as his thoughts on how the system needs to change.

He spoke about the difficulties that ex-prisoners face when they leave jail, and the problems caused by government underinvestment in the prison system.

He told students: “Prisons should be places of education, reform and rehabilitation so people can develop employment skills. I’ve seen terrible things inside prison, I’ve seen attacks by inmates, and the system at the moment is as broken as the people who are entering it.

“The people in charge of the criminal justice system only see prisons as places of punishment. The punishment is about losing your liberty, but there are people inside who want education. If you had more people in prison who were learning it would give them hope and motivation, and instead of boredom, depression and self-harm it would give people focus.

“When you’re in prison the most dangerous thing isn’t weapons or other prisoners – it’s your own thoughts. They can take you to some dark places and the reality of life in prisons is like something you can never imagine.”

Dr Anthony Ellis, lecturer in criminology and sociology at the University of Salford, said: “We provide our students with a complete understanding of the possible causes of crime and the criminal justice system – from courts and police forces to prisons, youth offending institutions and probation.

“Speaking directly to somebody who has been involved in criminality and experienced life as a prison inmate is invaluable for anyone wanting to fully appreciate the complexities of crime and the system that responds to it, and the students were fascinated with what he had to say.

 “Prisons and prison reform are areas many of our academics are involved in researching – and so it was also very interesting for us to listen to Cody’s thoughts on the causes of crime and why so many former prisoners end up reoffending.”