Prisoners take lessons in the Japanese art of origami, decorating their cells with their creations.
Paper folding was introduced as a way to combat stress at HMP Hewell, Worcs, as this Japanese art form had previously been associated with concentration and mindfulness.
The unusual step was taken while inmates were locked down during Covid-19 to allow them to cope with the stress of the pandemic.
This appears to have been a success, as some sources stated that many prisoners who attended the classes adorned their cells with paper dragons, birds, and floral designs.
A prison source said: “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, but they really got into it.
“Adult men spend hours making beautiful little things for their cells. It has a real therapeutic effect.”
A report by the Independent Oversight Committee said the prison origami program had been a huge success.
He said: “An extensive origami project set up at the initiative of a prisoner appears to have had a marked impact on the mental health and stability of many men in prison.”
He also said an art project to decorate the aisles of the prison landings had boosted morale, adding that the project “had an immediate and very visible impact on the look of the prison”.
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The practice of origami was originally used primarily for religious purposes as the paper needed to make it was very expensive, but as the paper became more widely available and mass-produced it became a popular form of Hobbies.
Now, some mental health groups suggest origami as a helpful way to improve hand-eye coordination and concentration.