Friday, April 19, 2019

Humane prison design leads to less violence

Prisons are both a punishment and a place for reformation. In Europe, they tend to view the lack of freedom—just being in prison—as the punishment. What happens while inside shouldn’t be an ongoing hell that twists minds and makes people more violent. Most will return to society at some point. We want them to come out better than when they went in.

How do you design prisons to be a humane place that provides opportunities to improve? Watch this short video. It’s interesting to see how the campus design forces inmates to get exercise in nature and how the tiny guard stations encourages them to mingle with the inmates, a better way to manage violence.

Obviously you don’t want truly twisted people like Charles Manson wandering around in a place like this. But in the US many people are in prison because of a tough upbringing, drug abuse, discriminatory systems and harsh sentencing laws. These facilities are expensive but if we incarcerated fewer people by using restorative justice and drug treatment, we could afford it. Keep in mind the people working inside the prison are also exposed and twisted by the hostile environment.

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