SIXTH form students from across North Devon learned about prison life at a conference at Kingsley school in Bideford.

The day-long Behind Bars conference gave a fascinating, and sometimes dramatic insight into the reality of life for the 80,000-plus inmates of UK prisons.

The audience were sixth formers from local schools, including Shebbear, Ilfracombe, Bideford College and Kingsley.

Forensic psycholgist Gill Lovell described the personality traits shared by psychopaths.

Three former prisoners talked frankly about their experiences inside and outside prison and joined the students for question-and-answer group sessions.

Some members of the audience, including Kingsley students Joe Woolcott and Christian Quinton-Tulloch , ‘modelled’ genuine HM Prison clothing.

This brought a lighter interlude to a serious and thought-provoking day, which the students agreed had given them food for thought and made them think again about their preconceptions about crime and punishment.