Friday, July 15, 2005

Architectural Prison Reform

Cool Hunting hipped me to an interesting story coming out of the UK.

Apparently, architect Will Alsop plans to help innmates design their own prison.

In an effort to switch the emphasis of incarceration to rehabilitation instead of reprimand, prisoners at HMP Gartree in Leicestershire will be asked to help Aslop reimagine the facility as a creative prison that stresses the importance of education and the arts.

Although the project is purely conceptual, the goal is to spark a debate about the nature of the prison system.

I'm all in favor of prison reform - as the current attitude doesn't appear to be doing much to break the cycle of poverty and crime. While I don't believe rapists and murderers should be allowed to fingerpaint next to landscaped gardens, I do think emphasizing education and social reintegration for less serious inmates might help discourage repeat offenders from crowding US prisons and, ultimately, reduce crime.

Either way, it will be interesting to see what Alsop comes up with at the end of the project.

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