Tuesday, Jul 17 2018 | Updated at 11:03 PM EDT

Stay Connected With Us F T R

Jan 13, 2017 09:49 AM EST

Many students think of higher education as something that would help them prepare for a great career. For Britain's youngest robber, however, university is something more than that. It changed his life.

Robert "Bobby" Cummines, who was only 16 when he was first convicted for armed robbery, told BBC 5 Live that completing a course at Open University changed his life. Formerly one of the United Kingdom's most notorious bank robbers, Cummines is now recognized for his service to those who were convicted, became imprisoned, and are now living a reformed life.

Cummines, who built for himself a violent group of killers and racketeers within two decades after his first conviction, served 12 years in high security prisons, Study International reported. While he was there, his former inmates Charlie Richardson and Reggie Kray, who were rival gangsters in the 1960s, encouraged him to get higher education.

Watch video

Wanting to understand why he was different from everybody else, Cummines, first took sociology and psychology in Open University. While in Parkhust and Maidstone prisons, he was given tutor-marked assignments: he would receive assignments and then send them back when he's completed them.

Although he had some sort of "distance education," Cummines said felt like the university was there with him while in prison, feeling its support. He added that education was his "liberation" inside the prison.

After his release from prison, Cummines dedicated himself to helping reformed offenders move on with their lives. He founded Unlock, a charity for people with convictions, seeking to help ex-offenders cope with the social exclusion and discrimation they face after leaving prison halls. He already retired in 2002, after leading it as Chief Executive for 10 years.

Cummines is also actively involved in giving advice regarding legal and penal matters, including the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and prisoner education issues. He is also advising the government regarding the murder of British Asian teenager Zahid Mubarek inside Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

In 2011, Cummines was recognized for his services to ex-offenders and was awarded the OBE, the most excellent Order of the British Empire, by the Queen.

Cummines continues to be grateful for the education he received while in prison. He said it not only turned his life around, but also those whom he comes in contact with.

See Now: Facebook will use AI to detect users with suicidal thoughts and prevent suicide

Follows Robert Cummines, Bobby Cummines, Unlock, university, Open University, UK, Charlie Richardson, Reggie Kray
© 2017 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Must Read

Controlling Robots With Brainwaves And Hand Gestures

Jun 23, 2018 AM EDTWhat if you can control robots with a simple flick of a finger? A team of experts is trying to make that a reality through this latest experiment.

Flavored Electronic Cigarettes Linked To Possible Cardiovascular Disease

Jun 16, 2018 AM EDTScientists from the Boston University School of Medicine looked into the effects of flavored e-cigarettes to the lining of blood vessels. Here are ...

LendingTree Study: Which Places Have the Most Student Debt?

May 31, 2018 AM EDTLendingTree outs its study that identifies places in the United States with the most student debt. Here's the complete list.

Best College Reviews Names 10 Best Master's in Biomedical Engineering Programs Online

May 31, 2018 AM EDTPlanning to pursue a master's degree in Biomedical Engineering? Here are some of the best online programs you need to consider.