An early, cold Tuesday morning in May and the Year 11(and 1 Year 10) Legal Studies students with Mr Cheal at the wheel and Hannah for support, head to Castlemaine to visit Loddon Prison, a medium security jail housing 450 inmates.
On arrival we went through some very strict security checks where Rebekah’s back piercing tripped the alarm as did Mr Cheal’s titanium knee, at least we were re-assured the security worked!
The group was then ushered through the electrified wire (not literally) into the prison visiting area where we received an initial briefing from the Corrections Officers and a short tour of the booth visitor area, the family visit units and the strip search cubicles.

The panel of prisoners then joined our group and played the ‘What did I do?’ game in which none of us were able to guess correctly. We then heard about the crimes, courtroom and prison experiences of five prisoners including 2 murderers; 1 armed robber; 1 culpable driver and 1 aggravated burglar. Wow factor! It was absolutely fascinating, the students were amazed at the candour of the inmates and their ability to articulate what they had done and the impact on the legal system and society. The students asked questions, showing admirable insight and maturity in so doing. The Corrections Officers complimented our College on the quality and maturity of our students.
The small group sessions with the panel of prisoners lasted over an hour, even then the discussions could have gone longer.
At the end of the presentations there was time to review our morning and for the prisoners to leave us with some parting messages, mostly relating to the consequences of making the wrong choices, especially where illegal drugs and alcohol are concerned.
We boarded the bus for the trip home reflecting on what we had learned on one of the more memorable outings offered at Echuca College. We also learned about how Castlemaine can seemingly drop to below freezing point in a matter of 2 hours!! Luckily Chealy’s driving and Maccas warmed us up on the journey home via a quite incredible dust storm at the ‘haystacks’.
What an intriguing day out!                                                                        
Mr. Stewart Cheal (Legal Studies Teacher)