A multi-disciplinary team comprised of architects, planners, social and environmental psychologists, and incarceration reform advocates, has focused on addressing the complex issues inherent in the design of detention facilities and their relationship to a broader urban context. The project's aim was to develop innovative, realistic, and progressive programming and design guidelines for new jail facilities integrated into local contexts and communities.
With the eventual and long overdue closing of the Rikers Island jail complex and the establishment of Justice Hubs in each of the five boroughs, the focus of the project has been the advancement of design to positively impact the lives of all people affected by the criminal justice system. Through public workshops, research and design charettes we heard from community members, Corrections Officers, former inmates, and family members alike that the system is in desperate need of significant change.
We learned, for example, that the lasting effects of visiting detained loved ones at any of the Department of Corrections facilities can imprint the difficulty of the living conditions as well the challenges of the procedures and protocols required just to see a person in a facility.