Innovate Inside: Towards Creative Prison Industries


Innovate Inside Publication_Revised-1

“At present, inmates who work for ‘prison industries’ across the globe do not learn new skills, just odd jobs. They aren’t taught skills that could make them resilient in the workplace once they leave. This is because education and work are disconnected.”
Prof. Lorraine Gamman, quoted in The Times of India, 7th March 2014.

Professor Lorraine Gamman’s research fellowship at Unbox Festival in 2014, Ahmedabad led to collaboration with Praveen Nahar of National Institute of Design (NID) on the AHRC-funded ‘Design Thinking for Prison Industries’ project which aims to break the cycle of repeat offending by equipping inmates with skills and thinking processes to help them find employment on release. The ambition of the project was to work with jails in UK and India to provide “purposeful learning activity” (a UK government requirement) that fosters creativity and wellbeing for inmates.

The purpose of the experiment was to

To find out how design can improve inmate prison experience, by teaching inmates:

  • how to design a bag for another that will help keep a person and their possessions safe and sound
  • help inmates understand the business case for the designs they generate
  • experience a new learning process ‘thinking through doing’ that they could apply to other areas of their lives

To help inmates:

  • turn ideas into detailed designs
  • co-design and make bag prototypes
  • engage with customer profiling
  • understand crime data (particularly perpetrator techniques) and translate it into design for anti-theft bags

To generate new learning approaches (‘design thinking’) to engage with inmates in ways that previous education initiatives had not reached.

Download Innovate Inside: Towards Creative Prison Industries case study here.

Media coverage

CSM Public newspaper, 14 January 2016. Delivering Design Education for Prisoners.

Diana Budds, FastCo Design, 28 April 2016. The Latest In Prison Education? Design Thinking

Runa Mukherjee Parikh, The Times of India, 7 March 2014. National Institute of Design, UK-based faculty plan course for jail inmates.

Sarfaraz Shaikh, The Times of India, 27 February 2016. NID goes to Sabarmati jail for designs against theft.

Tv9, Ahmedabad, 4 March 2016. NID goes to Sabarmati jail for empowering prisoners for meaningful living.

Tv9, Gujarati, 28 February 2016. NID goes to Sabarmati jail to teach theft-proof designs to inmates.

Times New Network, 22 March 2016. Convicts help design theft-proof bags.




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