Yvonne Jewkes, Prison Design, Built Environment Matters podcast artwork

Join us on a journey into the world of prison design with Yvonne Jewkes, Professor of Criminology at the University of Bath, in this episode of Built Environment Matters.

Discover how the integration of architecture and criminology can transform spaces of confinement into places of rehabilitation, reflecting on Yvonne's career and her expert insights into the societal impacts of prison architecture. Hosted by Architecture Director Steven Tilkin

Click the 'play button' above to listen in, or read our 5 Key Takeaways from this episode below...

1. Interdisciplinary approaches in prison design

Professor Yvonne Jewkes brings a multifaceted approach to prison design, combining her expertise in criminology with architectural principles. Her career has evolved from focusing on media's societal impacts to influencing prison architecture worldwide. This interdisciplinary approach highlights the necessity of integrating behavioural science with architectural knowledge to design correctional facilities that are both secure and conducive to rehabilitation.

2. Impact of architectural choices on prison dynamics

The podcast episode discusses how specific architectural decisions in prisons, such as the introduction of in-cell televisions, have helped reduce communal tensions and violence. This reflects a broader theme that the physical design of prisons can greatly influence the behaviour of inmates and the overall management of these facilities. By understanding the interplay between space and behaviour, architects can create environments that enhance safety and promote order.

3. Principles of rehabilitation in prison facilities

Emphasising rehabilitation over punishment, Yvonne advocates for prison designs that mimic normal living conditions to the greatest extent possible. This approach aims to prepare inmates for reintegration into society, potentially lowering re-offending rates. The discussion highlights how thoughtful design can support rehabilitation by providing inmates with a sense of normalcy and dignity, which are crucial for their psychological well-being.

4. Sustainable and human-centred prison design

The application of sustainable building principles, similar to those used in Passivhaus designs, is explored as a way to enhance living conditions within prisons. These principles focus on energy efficiency, good air quality, and ample natural light, which not only reduce environmental impact but also improve the physical and mental health of inmates. Such designs show how prisons can be built to be both eco-friendly and supportive of inmate rehabilitation.

5. Ethical considerations in prison design

Yvonne delves into the ethical challenges inherent in her field, particularly the tension between the need to improve existing correctional facilities and the ultimate goal of reducing overall prison populations. She discusses the moral implications of designing spaces that are intended for confinement, highlighting the importance of considering how these environments affect human behaviour and dignity. The takeaway calls for a balanced approach that addresses immediate architectural needs while advocating for systemic changes in the criminal justice system.