Jailhouse Tours operates two decommissioned prisons, Shrewsbury and Shepton Mallet. We are passionate about maintaining the history and heritage of the sites whilst providing a fantastic educational platform. Many of our current schools visit us to study crime and punishment through the ages, Victorian history, capital punishment, rehabilitation and the effects of crime on the victims and families. Our tours can be adapted according to your needs; workshops can be included along with a tour of the jail and/or a fully immersive 'prisoner experience'
In summary - if you give us a brief we will do our upmost to fulfill it
There are very few prisons in this country that are open to the public. We don't offer gimmicks just a real Victorian prison. The tours can vary in length from 2 to 3 hours and a workshop session is an option. On view are 2 wings of the prison, both with 3 landings, the constant watch cells, the segregation area, healthcare, the exercise yards and the hanging room including the cell where the condemned prisoner spent his last night. This can be excluded from the tour if preferred.
The tour will be adapted according to school year and what you, as a teacher, want to achieve. As well as being educational some organisations will use the experience as a preventative tool - bringing the harsh reality of prison life home
We encourage questions. Many of our visits are led by ex prison officers who know all the answers!
Curriculum topics available: Crime and punishment, Laws and the justice system, Team building, Alcohol and drugs awareness, Gangs Awareness.
The main subjects we cover under Citizenship are: crime & punishment, law & the justice system and alcohol & drug awareness and we can build team building events. The tour guide will naturally cover crime and punishment (the reason prisoners are in jail), how the justice system works (how much of a sentence a prisoner serves, how often they can see their solicitor etc) and if appropriate how alcohol and drugs play a part. They will discuss, if required how those on drugs/alcohol will be medically treated in prison and the various programmes they can join to aid their rehabilitation
Curriculum topics available: Drug and alcohol awareness, Right and Wrong, Gangs Awareness.
We cover drugs & awareness as above under 'Citizenship', right and wrong falls naturally when discussing why people are in prison i.e. they have committed a 'wrong'. We can also cover the 'rights & wrongs' once within prison and how prisoners gain elevated status and more benefits. Gang participation can often be a reason why prisoners end up in jail and there is also a gang culture within a jail.
Shrewsbury prison was built during the Victorian period and very much reflects the ethos of the time. It was about punishment rather than rehabilitation as it is today
We can discuss twentieth century history from a crime and punishment perspective and how the views changed from punishment to rehabilitation. The tour guide can also discuss how and when sanitation was introduced into cells and the effect of that
Tour of the prison including areas as listed above. The time is split between the officer addressing the students and Q & A sessions
Immersive prison experience
From 8 to 90
Yes we do. We have so much space at the prison!
As a traditional prison with lots of stairs between the landings we don't offer wheel chair access
Yes, we do. We would to have a chat with you prior to the visit to see if we can fulfill your criteria
The feedback we receive from schools is first class with teachers telling us that the pupils were very engaged, imaginations were fired and lessons, on every level, were learnt