More and more criminal justice systems around the world are calling on architects to design facilities that foster rehabilitation and reflection, particularly for nonviolent, nonsexual offenders. These facilities are not just more humane for inmates; they have a positive impact on the staff who work there every day.
We want to highlight five of the leading rehabilitation design trends we are seeing in correctional facilities around the world. In the posts below, you’ll find more information on each of these trends and examples of how they’re being put to use.
- Healthy Environments Through Aesthetic Design: Prisons are beginning to adopt healthcare evidence-based design concepts demonstrating that access to natural light and fresh air, connectedness to nature, and thermal and acoustic comfort have a positive, beneficial impact on mental and social behavior.
- Preparing for Transition Through Building Design: When rehabilitation is the ultimate goal, the overall size of the prison needs to shrink. For effective reform, experts suggest no more than 1,000 inmates.
- Design for Autonomy and Privacy: Giving inmates the freedom to move about the housing unit gives them some feeling of control over their environment. This autonomy encourages self-managed behavior and responsible choices.
- Mental Health Spaces That Heal: Inmate rehabilitation efforts are not one-size-fits all, and this must be reflected in inmate housing. Inmates who struggle with addiction or mental health, for example, have different housing needs than those who do not.
- Spaces That Accommodate Vocation, Exercise, and Spiritual Growth: Education and vocation are crucial ingredients in rehabilitation, so care should be given to those spaces. Adopting best practices for instructional design, as used in high schools and colleges, ensures not only a secure environment but one conducive to learning. A combination of group learning spaces and areas for quiet study and reflection is needed.
To help protect inmates in custody and to provide a safe environment for all, we offer the Secure-Care® line of ligature-resistant fixtures. Designed to promote this progressive new approach to incarceration, these products utilize “universal design” principles—suitable for use throughout the facility rather than just in specified “mental health” areas.