Before you begin a new project

Before you consider beginning a new prison project and using this resource we ask that you reflect on what you want to achieve and how you will go about it. We ask this of people who have never previously planned a prison and those who have planned many. It is well recognised many prisons are built around the world that are not needed or are unfit for their purpose. Chapter 7 of the ICRC’s Towards Humane Prisons is a particularly good resource for working through this process.

If you would like some initial independent advice from a delegate of the ICPA Planning and Design Network please fill in this form.

Principles to Create a Successful Correctional Facility

Convey through the built environment that people are capable of change and improvement.

Consider “evidence-based practices” and results from scientific research to promote positive social behaviours.

Blend the facility into the surrounding area to decrease alienation and to increase community integration.

Create appropriate sized facilities; smaller facilities allow for effective, focused attention and reduce inmate isolation and anxiety.

Promote safety, security, ease of supervision and circulation: enhance wayfinding; allow enough floor space for visual openness.

Provide a healthy, safe environment: spaces filled with sunlight, outside views, therapeutic colour schemes to encourage inmate participation.

Provide a normative (less institutional, more residential-like) and spatially stimulating living environment.

Provide a variety of programs, services and spaces; multi-purpose areas, academic, vocational, multi-faith spaces, counselling.

Sourced from an article by Marayca Lopez (2014)

Questions to Ask when Designing and Planning Prisons

by International Committee of the Red Cross