Services and social design

“Changing deviant behaviour: design approaches”

Designer: Gintarė Petkevičiūtė

In 2020, a study by the Council of Europe showed that Lithuania ranks first in the European Union in terms of the number of imprisoned people (220 people per 100,000 inhabitants). Globally, it ranks fourth, behind Turkey, Russia, and Georgia. One of the reasons for the high number of people serving prison sentences can be considered to be the high rate of recidivism (62%), which can be influenced by the negative stereotypes prevailing in a free society towards people who have served their sentences, which make it more difficult to integrate them into the post-sentencing process. It is a social project that aims to draw the attention of members of the free society to the relevance of the issue of the experience of imprisonment and to stimulate a discussion between them and those who have served a prison sentence. It can influence not only the choices made by those who are prone to re-offend but also a real change in the perception of imprisonment in the country. The aim is to reduce the exclusion of people who have been imprisoned by using the tools provided by design, which allows starting the conversation with a piece of furniture that invites people to sit down and talk - a chair. The project developed a wooden chair frame as a tool for discussion, which cannot perform its intended function as seating without human involvement and work. In this way, the idea of a full-fledged discussion is conveyed, which is not possible without the initiative and involvement of all parties. On this basis, each participant in the initial conversation created a chair that conveyed a personal sensitivity to the problem area. The latter were people with different experiences in the prison field: a prison sentence-served person, a family member of a prisoner, the author of the study, a young couple, and an 11-year-old child. The current phase of the discussion is not exhaustive; further development of the project is envisaged in the form of a series of exhibitions, with the aim of involving as many people as possible in the discussion (i.e. creating their own interpretation of the chair). In the context of the project, the art form of design serves to create a link between different social groups and to raise issues of public interest.