Ron Wilson interview with Suzanne Harris (WebTalkRadio.net).
The interview is also posted on the following sites in addition to WebTalkRadio.net: iHeart Radio, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and StitcherAbout the interview: School teacher Joseph Akeroyd was appointed Inspector General of Victoria’s prison system in 1924. He held this role until 1947 becoming the longest serving Inspector General in Victoria’s history. This book examines the experiences, achievements, and failures of Joseph Akeroyd, the longest serving Inspector General of Victoria’s (Australia) penal system, in reforming that system. This is not a traditional biography. It traverses Akeroyd’s experiences in his time and reflects on reforms through the author’s experiences as a contemporary prison educator. Drawing on his education background, Akeroyd revolutionized the ways prisons and prisoners in Victoria were managed and many of these reforms are embedded in current practice. Access to his personal diaries, letters, official reports, newspaper reports, and other private documentation gave insights so his single-minded reform agenda establishing Victoria’s unique relationship between education and prison management can now be recognized and acknowledged. There are many personal stories where Akeroyd interacted with infamous criminals. The examination of thwarted escape plans, rectifying wrongful convictions, recording the final days of those awaiting the noose, interviewing those about to be whipped or birched and following up after the events are moderated with contemporary stories of modern-day interactions between teachers and prisoner students- some humorous, some sad, some sobering. Finally, this book will challenge all readers to reflect on the role of education in prisons, gain insights following stories of conversations with inmates, challenges in changing practice, involved in education, especially prisoner education, whether you are forming policy, advising policy and practice, delivering programs, supporting those undertaking studies, managing those who teach and /or preparing to teach in these unique environments to reflect on your own learnings and how to adequately prepare for those undertaking this vocation in the future.
Kate Delaney, America Tonight
I was recently interviewed by Kate Delaney for America Tonight.
This in depth interview focused on the book, “Joseph Akeroyd: rediscovering a prison reformer” and examined the historical and contemporary experiences of prison reformers and prison education practitioners to provide unique insights into the complex yet compelling experiences in implementing reforms within prisons.
Throughout the interview, Kate and I discuss the following challenges faced by Joseph Akeroyd:
- the oscillating and diverse political, judicial and community views on the functions of prisons;
- the challenging yet timeless nature of prison reform
- the strategies reformers, particularly Akeroyd, used to fight for and implement change;
- historical interrelationship between education in prisons and management of prisons, particularly in Australia ; and
- real life stories and anecdotes to share sometimes humorous and tragic insights into the experiences of prison educators, prison management and prisoners.
Liten to the interview below or download Katey Delaney interviews Ron Wilson (mp3)
NewsGram with Sam Youmans
When a crime is committed we want justice. We want it swift and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We have a system of laws that are there to make sure the proper punishment is rendered in accordance with the law. We’ve create penalties for criminal conduct and we seek to rehabilitate criminals through incarceration.
How often do you think about what happens beyond that? When the bars close. What is happening to the person locked up? We don’t really care right? I mean, the perpetrator has been dealt with and justice has been served but what about rehabilitation? Aren’t these people supposed to be punished to the degree that they will realize the error of their ways? Once educated, depending on the severity of their crimes, they are then rereleased back into society.
It’s a complicated issue.
I came across a book written by Ron Wilson that focuses on the system of Justice in Australia. It’s titled Joseph Akeroyd: Rediscovering a Prison Reformer and in it, he writes about a man who moved directly from the education system to become Inspector General of Victoria’s prison system between 1924 and 1947. Yea, he was there a long time and during his administration prison was run like a school.
You can hear it right here: https://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/2022/01/02/joseph-akeroyd-rediscovering-a-prison-reformer/