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The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (7th edn)

Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra
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date: 13 April 2024

p. 87340. Why prison architecture and design matter to our understanding of the limits of punishment and rehabilitationlocked

p. 87340. Why prison architecture and design matter to our understanding of the limits of punishment and rehabilitationlocked

  • Yvonne Jewkes

Abstract

In the last decade, perspectives from criminology, environmental psychology, healthcare studies, and human geography have offered new ways of understanding the prison environment and the ‘affective’ potentials of carceral space which foreground the connections between place, space and what it is to be human and to survive imprisonment. Drawing on these interdisciplinary perspectives, this chapter examines the extent to which the limits of punishment, rehabilitation, and hope may be understood in the context of prison architecture and design. Drawing on the author’s experience as a consultant advisor on the design of two new prisons at different ends of the penal spectrum (a maximum-security men’s facility in Auckland, New Zealand and a women’s prison in Limerick, Ireland), the chapter argues that claims that ‘people-change’ (that is, rehabilitating offenders through design of prisons) may be over-ambitious in the context of incarceration. However, ‘context-change’ (in the sense of offering people in prison an alternative context in which to imagine their futures) may be an achievable goal. Context-change also includes the society in which any new prison is conceived and built.

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