It’s well known that spending time outside has benefits for both mental and physical health. Connecting with nature helps to boost energy levels, improve short-term memory, relieve stress and allow for better creativity and focus. It can also help reduce chronic inflammation and boost the immune system.
But being cooped up inside as a prisoner makes spending time outside, connecting with nature, near on impossible.
So the governors of one UK prison have decided to take the mental well being of their prisoners more seriously by having a new style of external window fitted to each cell.
Following up on their success retro fitting windows to 33 Thomas Street, the now infamous ‘windowless’ skyscraper in New York, a Devon based window and rooflight company have won the contract to fit new windows to the Grade II listed Dartmoor Prison. After a damning report accusing the governors of human rights breaches and overcrowding, the category C men’s prison has been under pressure to improve conditions ever since.
A spokesperson from NuDawn who will be supplying and fitting the new large, stylish frameless glass box windows says the benefits of these revolutionary new windows are endless.
“Increasing the level of natural daylight that can flood into each cell will help to boost the moods and energy levels of the inmates. It will help to regulate their body clocks, allowing for better, more restorative sleep and decrease their chances of suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which affects many people during the long, dark winter days.”
The spokesperson continued,
“Installing these box windows is like bringing a little part of the outdoors in, and will give bored inmates a better view of Dartmoor. Dartmoor is a stunning place and it seems a shame for the criminals housed in HMP Dartmoor to miss out on witnessing it’s beauty, especially if they’ve had to travel a long way to get there”.
“Not to mention that extending the window area outwards slightly improves the whole aesthetic of the cell space, adding the illusion of a light, airy, spacious room.”
It seems that safety will feature as heavily as aesthetics.
“These NuDawn windows are made using a revolutionary new design of fully integrated frameless glass box system that passes all current regulations and features the latest in safe laminate glass technology.”
“They can be retro fitted into any existing opening and we hope to expand into other areas of outstanding natural beauty. We’re currently in talks with other prisons to improve the cell experience of inmates up and down the country.”
Inmate Norman Stanley Fletcher, a self-proclaimed cynic, is uncharacteristically upbeat about the disruption the facelift to this historic, granite walled prison will cause.
“Having these fancy new windows will give me more time to reflect on ways to avoid getting into trouble with fellow inmate Harry Grout, and devise plans to get one over Mr Mackay and Mr Barrowclough. Winding up that pair of screws really brightens my day and to think I’ll be able to stare out over Dartmoor for inspiration!”
He says that the windows will help him better transition from life behind bars to Life Beyond the Box after his release.
“I just hope no one escapes as the old windows are removed, it looks pretty bleak out there on Dartmoor at times…”, said Fletch.