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Inside a UK prison

Inside a UK prison

With up to 90% of those incarcerated in the UK having mental health illnesses and the number of incidents occurring in prisons increasing, all steps necessary to help reduce the impacts of imprisonment on individual’s mental health and ensure their safety and wellbeing should be taken. Upon arrival at prison detainees are placed in a holding cell whilst being processed, this creates a setting where individuals are often most stressed and fearful in the prison due to the fear of the unknown when starting their prison journey. This is often exacerbated by the harsh environment of a holding cell that can have negative long and short term effects on individual's mental health.

What future holding cells could look like

What future holding cells could look like

Through adaptions to lighting, layout, stimulating material and exposure to nature in a holding cell, the environment can create a calming environment that has a positive impact on mental health and reduces anxiety and depressive tendencies in individuals. This could be feasibly done at low cost and relatively time efficiently, whilst prioritising the safety of both staff and detainees in the prison, and improving both parties wellbeing.

Lucy Crabb

Aiming to use Design and Human Factors knowledge to improve safety and mental health in others.

Being able to use a combination of Design and Human Factors skills allows for a structured approach to be taken that ensures products, services and environments are best suited for users needs. Considering cognitive, behavioural and physical traits of humans, it allows for the development of a world that adapts to the changing user, rather than expecting the user to change for the world. This skill set has been refined over 3 years of study and a year of professional experience, and will continue to be developed in future work.


An exploration as to how the UK prison holding cell environment can be improved to reduce the impact on detainee mental health

Final year project

A smoke alarm repeater for children’s bedrooms, waking under 18’s efficiently in the event of a house fire


'20 Diploma in Professional Studies


Effective use of ergonomics can improve modern design and engineering across a variety of disciplines in industry on a global scale, as seen when working with the Human Factors team at BAE Systems. Skills were developed in UX design, design and facilitation of workshops, undertaking and presenting user trial findings, and assisting future technology research in a range of roles and projects.


June 2018 - July 2019

Human Factors Engineer , BAE Systems