POST 3: DESIGNS FOR A JAIL

I don't know how I came across a document called: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections - Jail Design Guide - A Resource for Small and Medium-Sized Jails.pdf. I think it might have been when looking for something on libgen which is sort of ironic. Anyway, the images are sort of super interesting in a really bleak way.


I love this image from the first few pages of the document which comes after the header: 'IMAGE/APPEARANCE' and the following text:


The jail will project an "image" and give a message to the people who pass by, visit, work, or are confined there – although the way each person responds to it will depend on why they are there. The building's image helps people recognize the type of place it is and establishes their expectations for what will happen there, how they will be treated, and how they should behave.


The typical jail of the past is easily recognizable – hard and impenetrable, with steel bars and barbed wire. Many people now think that this traditional jail image is inappropriate given new attitudes about the role and purpose of the jail; that is, the desire to elicit normal behavior and to create a positive and accessible addition to the local community. Older jails tend to convey a message only of punishment and inaccessibility.


It's a lovely description which highlights some of the intersections of design and the way that criminal justice is administered. Something, which of course, has been noted elsewhere too, for example Foucault's description of the Panopticon The Panopticon Writings by Jeremy Bentham. Enough about Foucault though, what's interesting about the document and the images is the way in which the functionality and performativity of space is encoded in its design. The sequencing of offices and the heights of windows is considered in relation to the effects it has on visibility, or safety and even quality of light.


The following image (of which there are many) presents how a specifics pace will be used; how functions are scheduled within time and space and the subsequent layout in architectural plan form.


And this image which super simply shows how natural light can be provided to cells whilst maintaining security.

I'll try find more...


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