What ‘works’ in custodial design? Free workshop at the University of Birmingham, UK 30-31 March 2020

Custodial design (i.e. of correctional facilities, prisons, jails) has become big news. The scale and cost of incarceration has seen attention drawn to its effectiveness in delivering intended outcomes, with architecture and design recently coming under considerable media scrutiny. Whilst drawing attention to the structural violence of the carceral state, and arguing for decarceration, academic researchers are, in parallel, turning their attention to the effects of architectural and design elements on those who live, work in, or visit these facilities.

In the past, custodial design has prioritised the designing-out of risk (of escape, and of violence against the self and others). Whilst these considerations remain critical, more recently the balance has swung towards more aspirational – and controversial – ideas that facilities could instead be rehabilitative, even therapeutic environments that foster wellbeing.

We may know more than ever before about how built environments influence wellbeing in general, but the question of what custodial facilities should be like remains a challenging one. Policymakers may be open to new design ideas, but in managing tight budgets, they often require a challenging level of evidential proof of effect before changes are made.

This workshop presents research from leading international researchers addressing the question of ‘what works?’ in custodial design to deliver a rehabilitative, therapeutic environment, or other ‘positive’ outcomes. It will also help to scope out future research in this area.

All are welcome to attend – particularly prison and justice professionals, policymakers and practitioners who may be able to make use of the insights provided through the research presented, and whose input will help shape future research design.

Speakers will include:

Dominique Moran University of Birmingham, UK – Nature contact and wellbeing in prison

Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill City University of New York, USA

Kevin Bradley University of Technology, Sydney, Australia – Characterisation of custodial design through the lens of ‘citizenship’.

Elisabeth Fransson University College of Norwegian Correctional Services – Custodial design and the construction of hope in prison facilities for children and youths in Norway

Saul Hewish RideOut, UK – The Creative Prison Revisited

Yvonne Jewkes University of Bath, UK

Rohan Lulham, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia – Impacts of physical design on how staff and detainees are perceived in youth correctional settings.

Melissa Nadel Abt Associates, Cambridge MA, USA – Challenges and Solutions for Establishing the Impact of Custodial Design on Measurable Outcomes

Roger Paez AiB Architects, Barcelona, Spain – Critical Prison Design – Between Pragmatic Engagement and the Dream of Decarceration

Ashley Rubin University of Hawaii, USA – Learning from lessons of past prison design.

Julie Stevens Iowa State University – From Grey to Green: A Case for New Standards for the Correctional Natural Landscape

Victor St. John City University of New York. USA

Christine Tartaro Stockton University, USA – Culture Change within Facilities that Incarcerate

Barb Toews University of Washington, USA – Prioritizing accountability and reparations: Restorative justice design and infrastructure

The workshop will be held at the University of Birmingham, UK on 30-31 March 2020.

Attendance is free and delegates are invited to register here. Optional day catering and a conference dinner (limited numbers) can be added to bookings. Registrations with catering/dinner must be completed by 20th March 2020; registrations without catering will be taken until 28th March 2020.