Sociology with Styal!

Lecture on life inside Styal Women’s Prison


Sociology students and Year 11 pupils at Westholme were privileged to be able to attend a lunchtime lecture given by visiting staff from Styal Women’s Prison.  Mrs Devlin, Governor of the prison, Ms Horsfield, Principal Officer and Ms Booth, Prison Officer spoke to a packed lecture theatre about their work, responsibilities and the challenges they face on daily basis.  It was fascinating to learn that Ms Horsfield was the first woman to win the Prisoner Officer of the Year award following the BBC’s 2005 documentary which highlighted some of the issues associated with being in prison and the difficulties in managing challenging behaviour presented by women. 

During the course of the lecture students were asked what they might pack if they were taken into custody.  One by one the items on the extensive list were deleted until just the very bare minimum remained.  It was also interesting to see the protective clothing and riot gear that the prison officers were required to use when dealing with prisoners’ challenging behaviour.  The lecture concluded with a lively and informative Q&A session.  All in all, a fascinating glimpse into life in a prison.