Bad design responsible for prisoner violence, experts say

Posted by uatemp13 at Jan 31, 2014 11:15 AM |
Leicester academic has article published on website The Conversation
Bad design responsible for prisoner violence, experts say

Professor Yvonne Jewkes of the Department of Criminology

Professor Yvonne Jewkes of our Department of Criminology has had an article published on The Conversation's website. The article, ‘Bad design breeds violence in sterile megaprisons’ was co-authored with Dr Dominque Moran of the University of Birmingham, with whom Prof Jewkes is conducting a major 3-year ESRC funded study of prison architecture.

The article discusses the problems plaguing the UK’s newest prison, HMP Oakwood in Wolverhampton. Designed to be the “best prison in the world within five years of opening”, the facility has been plagued by reports of full-scale rioting, and was declared “unsafe” by government inspectors. This is all despite Oakwood being labelled a “cushy” prison, where prisoners are allowed televisions and game consoles and occasionally personal phones. So what has gone wrong?

The answer Professor Jewkes points out, is partly down to design: the warehouse-like design of Oakwood and treeless landscape around the prison do nothing to help rehabilitate prisons, instead serving to further alienate them and make them more violent. Instead, the UK prison system should take inspiration from experimental prisons in countries such as Norway and Iceland, where prisoners are kept in picturesque, open and domestic-style settings: often which great results for their rehabilitation. One such prison in Norway was reported to have a reoffending rate of just 16%.

Professor Jewkes and Dr Moran’s article can be found here.