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PILLAI COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE, NEW PANVEL

PRISON DESIGN: DOES REFORMATION DEPEND ON PRISON SPACE?

ARCHITECTURAL THEORY

Prof. Abhijit J. Sahasrabudhe

UTSAV CHAUDHURY 2016PA0036/ 08 THIRD YEAR B.ARCH SEMESTER V


PRISON DESIGN: DOES REFORMATION DEPEND ON PRISON SPACE? a comparitive study on different prison design theories and their approaches.

Abstract Prison design is crucial to the relationship between the ‘carceral’ and the state, in that it is the process which largely determines how the goals of a criminal justice system, and the wider society in which justice is enacted, are materially expressed. With this in mind, this chapter pursues the notion that the design of carceral space has a significant role to play in understanding the aims of a prison system and the experiences of living and working in prisons. Deciding upon the state’s attitude on its prison program and acting on it, can produce vastly varying results. A positive outcome although favoured, is rarely opted for. The paper looks at different examples of prison program attempts made in different eras of time in different countries with different social baselines, while drawing conclusions from each and showcasing the direct co relation between the prison program and the its effect on the incarcerated. Each and every program varies from each other significantly and demonstrates how the state working together to better the condition of the people behind bars; improves their lives and also reduce crimes, inside and outside the prison.

Keywords Victorian era, Human rights commision, cramped space, incarceration, violence, torture, reformation.

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Utsav Chaudhury

Third Year B.Arch student. A defender of Modernist architecture, while appreciating the beauty of classical architectural elements. A person of few words, but of many opinions on any topic. Attempting to visualise architecture as a form of art and creating the path to achieve perfection. Believes in the philosophy of less is more. Idols include, Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.


Introduction

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Prisons historically were designed as a captive space, punishing/ torturing hardened criminals against the monarch. Infamous for their inhumane treatments, these prisons were seen as earthly 3 spawns of hell with violence, self-harm inflicted 3 on criminals and mentally ill. Documentation during the Victorian era, confirms this showing barely enough personal space for these individuals, high violence from prison staff, 4 unhygienic food etc all served as factors for the condition, the prisons survived in. Looking at their designs, they were either old forts or hastily constructed structures, isolated on islands or placed far away from society. This was done to minimise the chances of a prisoner escaping and re-entering the normal society, he/she was sentenced to be isolated from. This condition seemed to only get worse during the World Wars; governments were willing to invest in war instead of looking after their incarcerated. Countries like Germany, on their path to world domination imprisoned many political prisoners from rival army officials to citizens of the annexed countries. Famous examples come from Russia and Germany showcasing the horrors of wars and their prison programs. After the end of the Wars, the United Nations was formed and a Human Rights commission came along with it. For the first time, an individual’s right to live was put first than the punishment being imparted. Torture was outlawed, this saw major improvements in the nature of prisons and how inmates communicated with each other. Many countries, saw the prospectus of these prisoners being shown the path to betterment and then re-entering the normal civilisation and help as functioning members of the society; benefitting the country. This justifies the investment the state/government makes on each individual incarcerated, as the investment pays off, bettering the workforce of that country/state.

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1. Victorian illustration of a bunk bed prison. 2. Average cell space in a victorian mental institution. 3. Prisoners lining up for food. 4. Section of a victorian prison. 5. Plan of a prison highlighting its huge fence walls

Study of Holloway Prison for

Women and Young Offenders. The construction of Holloway Prison, to the designs of James Bunstone Bunning, began in 1849 and was completed in 1852 to form the City of London House of Correction, opening in October 1852. As built, it had three wings for males and one for females and juveniles. It was the main prison for the City of London and had cost ÂŁ91,547. There were 436 cells, 283 for males, 60 for females, 62 for juveniles, 18 refractory cells, 14 reception cells and 14 workrooms. In the period 1881-1882, B&C wings were extended to provide 340 new cells and in 1883-1884 a new hospital wing was constructed. Remand prisoners were sent there and perhaps the most famous of these was Oscar Wilde. Female suffragettes were also imprisoned in Holloway.


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1. Execution at the Holloway Prison. 2. Holloway Prison in 1880s. 3. Cell space inside the prison. 4. Outside queues formed by prisoners

5. Schematic plan and section of a cell block in Holloway Prison.

The Holloway prison was the primary prison for female executions. When the prison was converted for female use, and with the closure of Newgate, there was a requirement for an execution facility. An execution shed, as was then the fashion, was erected at the end of B Wing. This shed contained the gallows which could accommodate two prisoners side by side. At this time, the press could still be admitted to executions although there is no record of this happening at Holloway. Sometime in the mid 1930’s, a new condemned suite was created on the first floor of the prison in E Wing, formed from five ordinary cells, and was quite spacious. It comprised of a visiting cell with a glass partition to separate the prisoner from the visitor, a bathroom and a day cell (Cell 17). The lights were kept on 24 hours a day and the prisoner guarded round the clock by at least two wardresses. On one wall of the day cell, there was a wardrobe which normally hid the door into an empty cell between the day cell and the execution chamber (Cell 19). The execution chamber itself was just 15 paces from the day cell and contained a double gallows set over the cell below to act as the “pit.” A metal ladder in one corner provided access to the cell above, containing the beam, for setting the drop and to the “pit” below. There was an autopsy room adjacent to this cell. Executions took place at 9.00 a.m. and afterwards there was an autopsy and a formal inquest before the women’s bodies were buried in unmarked graves within the grounds at lunchtime on the day of execution.

Holloway Prison was infamous for its restricted space in cell rooms, although the cells were made for 1 person at a time, but cases of overstuffing were common. Mental illnesses, diseases were ignored unless the prisoner showed adverse sights of illness. Executions were only done by hanging. The prison saw huge number of inmate violence, self-harm and arson. Holloway Prison was then closed during the Second World War in 1930s, on records of torture and insensitive treatment towards the incarcerated. After this, the prison was demolished making way for another prison being built over it; Opening another prison (also named Hollloway Prison) for Women offenders. The new prison continued traditions by having really small cell spaces, improper prison programme and high rates of inmate violence. Theprison is currently in talks of being closed making way for a housing project, supporting the lower income community of London. Conclusions: Study of Holloway Prison showcases why the older traditional methods failed to produce a positive change in the inmates. The placement of Gallows near cell spaces served as constant reminders of death and criminal guilt, never showing the incarcerated the need for reform and change to transform into functional members of society. These points were critical in Holloway prison’s demise and hence the number of reopening of the prison couldn’t make the program successful.

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Study of Feltham and Lancaster Farms

Young Offenders Prison

HM Prison Feltham (commonly known as Feltham Young Offenders Institution) is a prison for male juveniles and Young Offenders Institution, located near the town of Feltham within the London Borough of Hounslow, in west London, England. Feltham Prison is operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service. The original Feltham institution was built after 1857 and opened on 1 January 1859 as an Industrial School and was taken over in 1910 by the Prison Commissioners as their second Borstal institution. The existing building opened as a Remand Centre in March 1988. The current institution was formed in 1991 as a result of a merger between Feltham Borstal and the Ashford Remand Centre. It is managed directly by Her Majesty’s Prison Service, rather than management being contracted out to a private firm. The Feltham institute was originally a farm land transformed into a prison for young offenders. Taken from its farm origins, the place had long open spaces, huge areas for inmate socialization. As the prison famously housed only young offenders, the prison staff could experiment with many prison programs such as skill learning courses, reward programs and group activities that diverted the inmates’ minds from violence. The prisoner’s serving time was used to educate them and deviating from the path of wrong. The prison program saw positive changes and its methods were highly appreciated by other prison programs and governments around the world.

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3 1. corridors of Lancaster prison. 2. Average cell space. 3. Front Facade of Lancaster Prison

Conclusion drawn from studying shows the effects of humble treatment of the incarcerated. Since the imprisoned were children, they could be easily influenced to strive to be better individuals. The case of Feltham prison was a step in right direction for prison programs everywhere and helped researchers, psychiatrists and prison designers, opt for humane prison programs.


Study of JUSTICE CENTER

LEOBEN

One of the most famous and interesting approaches to prison design taken by Ar. Joseph Hohensinn. This prison sought to destroy old norms and approach to prisons and based its design on completely new grounds. Choosing to give its prisoners the right to the best of the luxuries they can afford to be in. The prison is almost like a boarding hostel, where the prisoners are free to move around inside, order anything they like from the outside for their needs and live their lives inside the prison the way they see fit. In its execution as a ‘belle façade’ facing the city, the court building comes across as an open and transparent building representing the new self-image of justice. No ‘judicial palace’, but a modern open ‘service facility’ for citizens. The court institutions, provincial court, public prosecution service and district court are connected by means of the three-storey entrance hall. The floors above house office and administration rooms for the corresponding courts, which are again highlighted by individual building bodies. The double façade in the administration wing made possible the timber surfacing of the interior skin.

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1. Vertical stories of the Leoben Prison. 2. Cafe area of the prison. 3. Average Cell space. 4. Outdoor gardening space.

This system was implemented in a very compact fashion in Leoben, although the most important organisational and design-related criterion was optimisation of the quality of experience for both employees and inmates as occupants. To this end, living conditions were created that are similar to everyday life at liberty in terms of home, work and leisure and which will, in the best case, make re-socialisation measures superfluous. The detainment units are designed like flat-sharing communities, each housing up to fifteen people. Each unit has a small kitchen, sanitary unit, gym and day room as well as a loggia that extends internal freedom of movement by the dimension of ‘stepping outside’. Work and leisure facilities are conceived in such a way that inmates can The concept for the multiply-secured judicial institution follows a basic structure that was developed in ad- access them independently without being vance. This structure runs behind the entrance, admin- accompanied. This relieves staff of some burden and istration and visitor area along a distribution level with prevents total restriction. intersecting facilities and staggered detainment units; it is both horizontally and vertically expandable.

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Site plan of Leoben Prison (top) and Floor plan of Leoben Prison (bottom)

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Section through the Leoben Prison (top).

Courtyards assigned to one respective department, the promenade garden on the roof and sports facilities act as a filter between inmates and wall, but are designed to make sure that no prohibited contact between inside and outside can be made. However, in their dimension and size they put people first, completing the microcosm of a modern judicial institution. For Leoben’s radical approach to changing prison culture to bringing a shift in every individual inmate in its cell; Leoben has been honoured with many awards: ULI - Urban Land Institute for Excellence 2009: Europe, Middle East and Africa, Architecture prize of Styria Province 2004, Geramb-Rose, appreciation award for excellent construction 2006. Conclusion derived from reading about Leoben Prison is that prisons are centres to provide second chances to people who are willing to improve. The prison holds many prisoners who are willing to end their addiction or lives of violence by choosing to improve and get a second chance to work and earn a better life. The prison provides many skill learning courses, education degrees and even therapy to recover from drug taddictions.

All this makes it seem as if Leoben has attained the goal to be the most perfect prison. But, statisticians have claimed that the state has to shell out more to keep the institute running, in hopes that the prisoners leaving the facility as changed people. Many prisoners claimed to extend their sentences by intentionally failing their courses and addiction recovery trainings. It was then known that the returns from the prison were nearly not enough the government was investing in Leoben.


Conclusion

Discussion

Looking at the three different approaches to these prison designs and their approaches to what is valued more in their program; showed us the changing perspective of the Government and the prisoners. A prison can be designed to be optimal to make a guilty feel at home or even in luxury beyond that. But the sense of reform and change can only be brought in through rigorous realization of reality through a medium (whether violent or not). The way this exercise is done, decides the attitude of the incarcerated towards the government, which in turn decides whether the investment made by the government will pay back. Prison design becomes a more and more a sensitive topic of discussion, with both sides of the argument showing important examples of failure and successes in their part. Violence is always seen as a scary deterrent, making people afraid of ever committing a crime and landing in a prison. Whereas, using compassion and humility to treat a criminal and change his perspective to be a better human being isn’t a guarantee success yet and gives irregular results. But when it does become a success it ensures a better economy and a workforce in that country. Like hospitals, libraries, museums etc. can have a list of design guidelines which can be followed from country to country; such a guideline cannot be formed for Prison design which can be that dynamic to fit any countries’ guilty.

Realising the complexity in deciding upon a countries’ prison program, this makes the need for a well thought plan. A balance in fair treatment and their punishments should be brought in. The government should look into turning criminals as working members of society while not giving up much of its resource and time. An efficient program that serves this purpose is the need of the hour. Only way of getting closer to this goal is to start preparing by experimentation. Small experimentations like Feltham prison will simulate how big changes will be received by the inmates. A change in their personality and attitudes should happen involuntarily. Use of violence and torture to make this possible completely defeats the purpose, making the correctional facility seem as hypocrites. A joint venture taken up by architects, psychiatrists and statisticians is compulsory and vital for the betterment of the lives of these incarcerated and also the state, funding this operation.

Reference http://www.hohensinn-architektur.at (Ar. Joseph Hohensinn’s online web portal) Prison Design and Carceral Space, Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes and Jennifer Turner “Providing for children: Feltham Industrial School” https://www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/feltham http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/holloway.html

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Profile for utsav chaudhury

Prison Design: Does reformation depend on Prison space?  

An amateur research paper on the topic on the inacrcerated design norms. The paper looks into 3 case studies of design approaches in differe...

Prison Design: Does reformation depend on Prison space?  

An amateur research paper on the topic on the inacrcerated design norms. The paper looks into 3 case studies of design approaches in differe...

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