The architecture of incarceration: Public lecture on prison buildings

Posted by mjs76 at Oct 15, 2010 12:20 PM |
Criminology Professor questions whether the design of prison buildings can have an effect on their efficiency on Tuesday 19 October.

Attractive architecture is widely regarded as A Good Thing (although debate rages on about what constitutes ‘attractive’). Except in one type of building: prisons.

There is a school of thought that not only should prisons not be nice to look at – from inside or outside – but that they should actually be austere, even ugly, to remind everyone what they’re about and what they're for. But is this a valid argument?

The social effects of prison design will be the subject of a public lecture by Professor Yvonne Jewkes from our Department of Criminology under the title ‘”Architecture cures cancer”: but can it cure crime?’ The title refers to Maggie’s Centres, a network of cancer care centres in individually designed buildings, based on the (somewhat controversial) principle that an attractive environment can actually contribute to health – a concept which the media like to (over-)simplify to ‘can architecture cure cancer?’.

Professor Jewkes will include photographs of prisons she visited on a recent trip to Norway as part of the lecture, which takes place in the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1, at 5.30pm on Tuesday 19 October 2010. The event is free and open to all and will be followed by a reception in the Charles Wilson Building. For further information, please contact Pritty Wadhia,, 0116 252 2320.

Yvonne Jewkes came to Leicester in 2007 from the Open University. She sits on the editorial board of the British Journal of Criminology and her books include Prison Readings (2006), Handbook on Prisons (2007), Dictionary of Prisons and Punishment (2008).