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 behavioral 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 decisions in prisons, such as the introduction of prison cell televisions, have helped reduce communal tensions and violence. This reflects a broader theme that the physical design of prisons can greatly influence the behavior of inmates and the overall management of these facilities. By understanding the interplay between space and behavior, architects can create environments that enhance safety and promote order.

3. Principles of Rehabilitation in Prison Facilities

Emphasizing rehabilitation over punishment, Yvonne advocates for prison designs that mimic normal living space 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-Centered 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. Prisons designed this way can be built to be both eco-friendly and supportive of inmate rehabilitation.

5. Ethical Considerations in Designing a Correctional Facility

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 prison populations and mass incarceration. She discusses the moral implications of designing spaces that are intended for confinement, highlighting the importance of considering how these environments affect human behavior and dignity. The takeaway calls for a balanced approach that addresses immediate architectural needs while advocating for justice reform and systemic changes in the prison system.