Tag Archives: Health

Disciplinary architecture: using prison design to optimise health and safety

3 Apr

disciplinary architecture


Niyi Awofeso


Architectures of control are deliberately or implicitly part and parcel of most prison designs.  Historically, disciplinary architecture has dominated the designs of prisons, in line with the emphasis of prisons on punishment and a narrowly defined version of rehabilitation focussed on penitence.  Recent trends in hospital design indicate the positive impact of health-promoting hospital architecture and art on patients’ health.  Consequently, humanistic and health-promoting architecture increasingly underpin contemporary prison designs in Western nations.  Although no formal evaluation of the impact of prison design on inmates yet is currently available, anecdotal evidence from Sweden, Denmark and Norway indicates that humanistic prison architecture has a positive impact on recidivism as well as the wellbeing of inmates and custodial officers.  The author of this presentation posits that all new prison design policies globally should include health impact assessments on prisoners and the immediate environment, and that prisons which are designed or remodelled with inmates’ health improvement as one of its objectives are more likely to achieve prisons’ holistic rehabilitation and health promoting functions.



Some Niyi’s related work:

Awofeso N. Disciplinary architecture: prison design and prisoners’ health. Hektoen International Journal, 2011; 3: 68-70. [http://www.hekint.org/Disciplinary_architecture.html]
Awofeso N. Unlocked potential: improving inmates’ health through prison architecture. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 2011; 7: 3 -9.