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Rishan's refreshing proposals to revamp prison green-lighted

Scandinavian-inspired designs by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student have been chosen for redesigning the visitors’ room and waiting area at HMP Stocken.

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Interior Design students were invited to respond to Stocken Prison's brief, following DMU’s successful redesign of HMP Leicester, which saw a dramatic increase in visitor numbers and partners taking their children in for the first time.

Final-year student Rishan Gudka impressed with his light, airy designs and suggested use of local resources.

The 23-year-old from Croydon in South London said: “I’ve never really won anything on this kind of scale before and it feels great. It’s helped me to believe that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.”

The brief was to address the needs of visitors, inmates and the prison officers and staff, by creating a more welcoming space while maintaining the required levels of security.

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After speaking to inmates’ family members and prison staff, as well as conducting research into prison environments that can reduce reoffending rates, Rishan proposed transforming the original space by dividing it into five different areas.

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He designed a main visitor space with a variety of seating options, a colourful play area for children located centrally, a restaurant offering hot food, a private visitation area tucked away behind timber slats and a luxurious hub for reflection and conversation.

He said: “My aim was to create a space in which both prisoners and their families can spend quality time together.

“It’s humbling to know that my ideas might change things for the better and it would be great to go back and see the actual finished space.”

Rishan credits part of his success to his year on work placement, saying: “Thanks to my course, I feel like I went on placement with a good technical grounding and strong knowledge of the software used in industry.

“However, my year in industry definitely helped to develop my presentation skills and understanding of fulfilling client briefs.

“It also taught me how to communicate my ideas through visuals alone, which really paid off as I wasn’t able to present my work in person. I was on the mass #DMUglobal trip in New York at the time, so my proposals were chosen based solely on my designs.”

Wendie Zijlstra, Head of Operations at HM Prison Stocken, said: “Rishan’s designs were chosen because of the natural feel and sectioning of the areas.

“We had such positive feedback during our consultation period with one inmate commenting that this has been the most positive project we have seen at Stocken so far.

“The impact will be great on how the men, their children and other visitors will use this space and view it as their own.”

Posted on Thursday 15th February 2018

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