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From prison life to OU PhD student

Prisoner reading a book

An OU PhD story who went from prison life to studying for a PhD, has been featured in BBC/OU short film.

Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski is featured in a BBC Ideas video: How I went from Prisoner to PhD, in which he tells the story of how he made the journey from jail to academic research.

Stephen achieved his OU degree and two Masters degrees from Oxford Brookes University mostly while serving his sentence. He credits his impressive turnaround to the OU and “the enlightened academics prepared to tutor a prisoner” for giving him the hope and the tools to turn his life around and rehabilitate successfully into society.

Stephen is now studying for his PhD in criminology while working as an associate lecturer, working with those who are learning as he first did, while serving a prison sentence.

Stephen said:

“I believe my learning journey – which was only made possible by the OU’s ethos and philosophy of open access - will enable me to continue to make a positive contribution to society. I wish to see other prisoners benefit from engaging fully with higher education.

“I thank the OU for doing what they alone do best, widening access and participation to higher education, which in my case means facilitating the successful reintegration of prisoners back into society.”

The BBC Ideas film will join a brand new series of OU/BBC digital videos, commissioned by Broadcast and Partnerships, already available on the OU playlist. These include A tale of resilience: ‘How I survived a horrific loss’, Four tips from elite sport you can use in everyday life, Is it time to reassess our relationship with nature?, Are you sharing too much online? and two more films exploring Plant blindness and What would a world without prisons be like? will follow.

Find out more about OU research in social policy and criminology

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