This is the fourth section of a five-part tutorial concerning the Criminal Justice System (CJS) of England and Wales. It is an interactive guide allowing the user to realize what it might be like to be sent to a prison in either England or Wales. Using something similar to a video player control panel, the user can easily navigate around and control what is shown or heard by using Go, Pause, Repeat, and Sound buttons. A Site Guide gives easy to understand directions and information on how to use the guide. Following this are five stages of incarceration which allows the user to become familiar with the process. It begins with the Arrival, Accommodation, Daily Life, Keeping in Touch, Leaving Prison, and ends with an Exit, which takes the user to a Feedback Form. Each stage explains what may happen as the inmate goes through the prison experience. Using still photos, a large screen depicts daily life from a prisoners point of view. A smaller window below the screen provides text which is verbatim to what the speaker is saying. Forward and back buttons on each side of the text window allows users to re-read, skip pages, or read ahead.
Type of Material:
In class, either online or on campus, well suited for individual or group work, can be used for online individual or group discussion boards.
Internet Explorer, Flash, Windows, Mac OS X Leopard (Does not support Safari Browser due to Safari's inability to upload Flash).
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The learner will develop a greater understanding of the process a man or woman will be subject to after they are sentenced to prison. As the authors states, "The information in this section will explain to offenders, or their families, what happens once they have been convicted."
Target Student Population:
Criminal justice students at a freshman or undergraduate level
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Introduction to Corrections, Criminal Justice, Administration of Justice, or Criminology. Must have basic computer skills.
The guide is very professionally made with clear images, strong audio and concise information. Demonstrates what may be expected within a particular prison in England or Wales. Seems current and relevant. Appears to provide accurate information concerning what can be expected during a prison stay within the England and Wales Criminal Justice System (CJS). It is very flexible and can be used in a variety of situations within the CJS. It does provide an adequate amount of material for user to achieve a good understanding of how the process works. The guide summarizes one concept of incarceration and integrates it into an easy to use format.
Does not address offenders who commit violent crimes e.g., murder, forceable rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. Does not address the mentally ill offender, or offender with HIV/AIDS. Some of these inmates have issues that are not well received within the general prison population. There is also no Copyright date and the site is government created/supported and is not grounded in scholarship.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Material can be used in conjunction with a variety of Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement modalities e.g., intervention, prevention, teaching, or training. Compared to other methods, this learning material is better in that is utilizes not only visual images but audio as well. It engages the learner, creates a level of intrigue and motivates them to want to learn more. Appeals to those who may have trouble reading (young or old) as they can "hear" the written text and easily follow along. It is a very effective interactive experience for all. The "Exit" stage at the end allows user to give immediate feedback. One can learn a lot in the short amount of time it takes (only 10 minutes) to run through the whole guide.
It isnt intended to be used by students. Its intended use is to help offenders understand what will happen to them after they are sentenced to prison.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The guide is very easy to use. Simple buttons i.e., Go, Pause, Repeat, and Sound are the main controls and are each colored differently. Each button has a familiar symbol that everyone is familiar with depicting what that particular button does. Using your curser, you can easily navigate back and forth through the five stages at the top of the guide, or by using the forward and back arrows on each side of the text window, you can skip ahead or re-peat a page if desired. The guide is interactive. Simple instructions are provided in the Site Guide. A "Questions" window is always available on the left side of the main window, allowing learner to choose certain pre-selected questions.
The walkthrough is a bit tedious. It would be much more visually interesting to have included video rather than still pictures. The site doesnt immediately recognize that you have Macromedia Flash 6 installed in your computer. There is a link you can click on to bypass the system however, so you can get in. This may confuse/discourage students at the outset. The questions may be generic in nature but possibly not the ones that all may wish to have answered.
Other Issues and Comments:
Inmates and staff appear to be quite friendly and pleasant, and the cells or "dormitories" too clean and tidy. The last picture in the "Leaving Prison" stage of what appears to be a Medieval Prison; almost a "castle" like structure, seems to be a dichotomy of what was presented on the inside.
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