Print Email Facebook Twitter Improving the experience in isolation cells in prisons Title Improving the experience in isolation cells in prisons Author Van Uffelen, F.L.E.U.R. Contributor Desmet, P.M.A. (mentor) Sonneveld, M.H. (mentor) Duvert, E. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Industrial Design Programme Delft Institute of Positive Design Date 2013-01-29 Abstract In every prison and other custodial institution in the Netherlands prisoners can be secluded either for punitive reasons or for self-protection. Research shows that the manner in which prisoners are secluded in the Netherlands can seriously affect one’s brain. This project aims to improve the experience inside isolation cells for prisoners who are secluded for protective reasons. Responsibility must be taken, since one day these people will become part of society again. Current situation In the Netherlands, foreign nationals awaiting their repatriation are placed in detention centres. These people are likely to become distressed, due to their uncertain future. Their reaction to this situation can vary from having nightmares to attempting suicide. If this occurs they need to be protected for themselves. The only way to both give these people a safe environment and keep an eye on them is to put them in an isolation cell. Such cells allow 24-hour surveillance and provide as few stimuli as possible. No personal goods are allowed inside the cell, nor is distraction in the form of television or books present. This situation may lead to sensory deprivation and permanent damage to the brain. The prisoners already have psychological issues, for which they are brought to the isolation department, and the current way of treating them may do more harm than good. The research Observations were carried out in the detention centre in Rotterdam and interviews were carried out with both employees and (former) prisoners. Next to that a literature study about sensory deprivation and the context is done. The findings are clustered in two emotional situations many prisoners experience inside isolation cells. First uncertainty on the prisoner’s current situation can cause anxiety. Second is the lack of stimuli, which can lead to having negative thoughts. Next to that it is found that human contact is very important; the more a prisoner connects to the world around him, the faster he can go back to the housing department. Research also points out three undesirable situations involving the guard-prisoner interaction. The guard’s uncertainty about the prisoner’s state of mind negatively influences their interaction. Negative emotions coming from locking up a person and the strict conciseness of all moments of interaction can give an uncomfortable feeling to the guard as well. These situations negatively influence the interaction and the guard’s safety. The concept A future interaction is designed to improve the current situation. The guard needs to be encouraged to start the interaction and the prisoner needs to become involved in it. The interaction is supported by the TimeTable concept. With the concept the prisoner gets to tell his preferences and gets some freedom in forming his day programme. This will provide him with a feeling of autonomy and certainty. As both prisoner and guard sit together and have a conversation, the contact throughout the day improves and will distract the prisoner from his negative thoughts. The TimeTable helps the guard interact with the prisoner. He receives tools, which help him feel secure in the situation, next to that it allows a more humane way to treat the prisoner and therefore a more positive feeling for the guard. The five elements of the TimeTable and their properties are: Table – Instead of having to put the meals on the floor, the guard can now bring and leave the food on a table the prisoner can comfortably eat from. Pouf – The guard brings his own pouf; in this way he does not use any of the ‘prisoner’s furniture’ when having a seated conversation. Notebook – A manual for the guard, which contains questions the guard can ask the prisoner. The prisoner’s answers are written down in the notebook. Poster – The prisoner’s answers are copied onto a poster that can be hung on the wall as a record of the interaction, and a schedule of his day programme. Whiteboard – The guard writes down the agreements made with the prisoner on a whiteboard in the team office. His colleagues from all disciplines are aware of and can act to these agreements. It is also a tool to easier talk about the interaction and reflect on that. Subject isolation cellsdesign for emotion To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:1d9f6b2e-e9ab-433c-b251-0b369e9a539a Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2013 Van Uffelen, F.L.E.U.R.