Grendon Prison, UK. 2000
Ongoing Installation

 
Grendon Prison is a Category 'B' Prison in the UK.

The inmates are serving long-term sentences for serious crimes- all have served in Category 'A' Prisons.

Grendon is unique in that it is run as a 'therapeutic' prison whereby the inmates are not only confronted with their crimes but, importantly, are encouraged to seek other, more positive, ways to deal with their behavioural problems that have lead them to repeat offences.

 

 

Left Hand Corridor

Left-hand of corridor

This work consists of 34 'boxes' each containing a personal possession of an inmate.

They were asked to provide an object/possession of theirs that they felt related intimately to their idea of Home. This could be a past home, a future one or their present one (prison). They were also asked to provide a short statement (on a name tag) as to why they had chosen the object they had donated.

 

Each contribution was voluntary and it was agreed that when an inmate moved on (to another prison or released) they would have the object returned to them along with the individually made box.

 

 

Right-hand of corridor

Each box is approximately 30cm+20cm+7cm deep.

 

Right Hand Corridor
 
(For security and privacy reasons none of the following visual details are correctly focused. Therefore a fuller text description is given for each work shown.)
 

 

BOX - RAZOR

In précis the accompanying 'tag' text describes how the razor was seen as a means of maintaining some dignity and 'normality' within prison. It also stated that it could also be used as a means of self-defence and, in extremes, for self harm.

Razor

 

BOX - QUILT
(Cushion cover)

This piece was made by the inmate from scraps of fabric he had found or were given to him.

The text describes how important quilting is for his sense of ability, skill and the close association it has with a home environment.

For him the activity is not only skills-based but also a means of contemplation and therapy.

Quilt

 

BOX - DRINKING STRAW
('The last straw')

This inmate was arrested whilst coming out of a burger bar with a drink and this straw. He has had it with him ever since he was arrested.

His first intention upon release is to return to the burger bar and use the straw (still in its original wrapping) to drink with.

He states that the association with the straw and freedom- and the subsequent associations with home- is all he has thought about over the years he has spent in prison.

 

Drinking Staw

 

BOX - CHILD'S DRAWING

The inmate states that this is the first drawing, by his son, that he received whilst in prison.

A small toy also accompanies the drawing.

Childs Drawing

 

BOX - PHOTOGRAPH

This image shows a family photograph. The text below quotes the feelings of the inmate in relation to his father, who he saw as a "teacher, a friend, as well as a father".

However, the inmate states that it was only on his
father's death that the inmate felt he was able to express his love for him.

 

Photogaph

 

BOX - PAINTING

This small painting (taken from a photograph sent to him) shows the inmate's daughter.

Soon after the daughter was born the inmate was imprisoned for ten years.
He has continued contact with her throughout this time.

 

Painting