It is possible to provide prisoners autonomy and privacy without compromising inmate and staff safety. Spaces should be designed with clear sightlines throughout the housing unit from the—preferably open—officers’ station.
Inmates who have the freedom to move around the housing unit are allowed to feel a sense of control over their environment, and this autonomy promotes self-managed behavior and responsible choices.
A structure of open and direct supervision enables the surveillance necessary to ensure security while simultaneously keeping the lines of communication open between officers and inmates.
Experts also recommend providing a degree of privacy for sleeping and personal hygiene, which helps preserve personal dignity. In order to help inmates develop respect for themselves and one another, they should also be encouraged to personalize their living space and be given the ability to adjust the lighting. These fundamental adjustments will better prepare inmates for life outside the confinements of prison, reducing the chance of recidivism.
Read more about prison design trends that foster rehabilitation.