By Eliza Goodfellow, 6.2 and Psychology Don
Last Tuesday, the Psychology department welcomed Andrew Lewis and Allan Walker, a convicted murderer and fraudster, to talk about their experiences with the UK’s criminal justice system and life with a criminal record as part of our Psychology Crime and Deviance Conference. They were accompanied by a forensic psychologist who has worked with psychopaths. Her role plays a part in the process of assessing whether prisoners will be able to function adequately if integrated back into society, without posing a threat to the public.
The criminal justice system was outlined to us, and we were given a scenario to discuss whether we thought the man involved was guilty of murder. It came as a surprise to us that the murder we were discussing as a group was in fact the lecturer’s trial – it was at that point that he revealed he was a murderer. The majority of students believed that in the scenario described, Andrew was innocent of murder, guilty primarily of grevious bodily harm (GBH) in an act of self-defence.
Contrary to popular belief, Andrew was found guilty of murder by the criminal justice system and given a life sentence with a 12-year tariff. He went on to describe his experience of prison life as a 23-year-old man, giving us some examples of the things that he encountered.
Allan Walker, the fraudster, described to us the process of being caught having committed fraud and outlined his life in prison in comparison to the outside world. Some of the things that both Andrew and Allan told us about prison life were shocking to hear.
Overall, it was a really interesting experience and we all learned a lot about some of the flaws of the criminal justice system.