Many students are distanced from the realities of correctional facilities and never consider doing practical community engagement programme s in a correctional centre. Students of criminology usually deem practical community engagement work in corrections as a high-risk unnecessary endeavour. The authors explore how students’ sense of civic responsibility changes over time when they are tutored to do community engagement in correctional facilities. The perceptions of students were gauged before embarking on a community engagement project in a correctional facility and were then requested to write a phenomenological report about their experience after the completion of the seven-week project. Many students transformed dramatically and their perceptions changed significantly. In addition, this contribution also focuses on the position of tertiary institutions in community engagement. Although many consider corrections dangerous areas for community engagement, tertiary institutions have no choice but to engage in this frequently forgotten population. The White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (Department of Higher Education and Training, 2013) contextualises a range of issues and highlights compulsory curricular activities in disadvantaged often forgotten communities. The authors believe that tertiary institutions and especially student projects in corrections will improve the practical value of criminology as a discipline and contribute more to the restorative ethos that features strongly in the South African Criminal Justice machinery.