Prison Connection / 2013

Focusing on prisoners and the lives they live within the prison system, it was discovered that prison environments often foster depression, aggression and a sense of hopelessness in the incarcerated. These feelings often manifest themselves in attacks upon other prisoners or self harming. There is strong evidence that suggests providing prisoners with a greater and more regular sense of connection to their family and loved ones is capable of alleviating the negative feelings caused by prison life. Benefiting the prisoners well-being and therefore their quality of life.

Prison Connection attempts to provide a connection between the incarcerated and their families. It allows family and loved ones to simply let the imprisoned know that they are thinking of them. The medium of connection for the family had to sit discretely within the domestic space so as it could be used regularly to replace rituals such as saying good night, saying i love you or just letting the prisoner know they were being thought of. The reason for this discreteness is that families are often ashamed and embarrassed to talk about an imprisoned family member and it was important that the medium within the home did not draw the attention of visitors to ask questions. Hence the simple house hold plant, integrated with capacitive touch technology, turns it into a gestural control where only the family members know that interactions with it connect them to their imprisoned loved one.

For the prisoners the family interactions are displayed as bursts of colour on a unit within their cell. The form of communication needed to be reactively abstract so as to avoid security issues. Prison Connection provides and abstract form of connection between prisoners and their families to let prisoners know the simple fact that they are being thought of, are missed and have not been forgotten. Helping to support the family unit and keeping it from separating.  This knowledge can often make the difference to a prisoners out look on their sentence and the connection provided can help to create a greater sense of belonging and well-being that could improve the life of a prisoner and their families.