Jun 15, 2009
Rethinking America's prisons is cheaper than rethinking incarceration

  • We punish people with architecture. The building is the method.
  • New prison construction is parceled out to a handful of large and anonymous firms, discouraging innovation.
  • American prisons are built in the countryside. Rural prisons need no public face. It need articulate no sense of communal pride or civic justice.
  • Convicts tend to come from cities; guards do not. Culture clashes inevitably arise.
  • Convicts tend to come from cities; their families often can't afford to travel to visit. Rehabilitation becomes difficult.
  • Guards serve "lifetime sentences 8 hours at a time." Guards and prisoners often want the same improvements.
  • Prisons that look pleasing suffer less vandalism.
    Jim Lewis
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