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They are the people society fears most, a world of violence and corrosion, gang wars, drugs, illegal immigrants, riots and more, it's an entire nation behind bars, a prison nation with numbers rising.
Prisons are invented for convicts; convicts are there as a punishment and not for punishment. Prisons have evolved from simple places for incarceration; where protection of the public is paramount, to instrument of punishment; where deprivation of liberty is the penalty for breaking the law, to settings to reform; where attempts are made to mould the guilty to conform to society's norms.
Prison architecture, initially started off with strong-box jails which were designed in the 19th century to primarily secure the holding of the inmates (Figure 2). At Burton, New Brunswick (1820), is a national historic site whose domestic appearance and layout is belied by the iron bars on the windows which announce its functions. Later on a new prison concept emerged. Buildings are designed to be supervised by paid staffs. Inmates are as well been proved with personal cells and further segregated based on gender; female, male, based on age group; teenage, adult, or the types of crime committed. The Auburn approach later on employed cellblocks consisting of rows of very small cells placed back-to-back in the centre of the building and a workshop where inmates laboured together. Where else, the Pennsylvania system advocated cellblocks which are laid out in a radial pattern from a principal supervisory station, each block consisting of a central corridor flanked by rows of cells.
The belief that prison design could reform inmates influenced the planning and design of provincial penitentiary in Kingston, the largest Milbank prison in England at the time, which was designed by the former deputy warden of the New York state prison of Auburn, Williams Powers, and built under the institution's master builder, John Mills (Figure 3). The cells each measured 2 m by 0.6 m (6 feet by 2 feet) in size, fronted by thick wooden doors, pierced with small barred openings for ventilation and supervision were laid out in a long row stacked 5 cells high in the middle of the cellblock, which is separated from the neighbouring unit by 2-foot-thick stone walls. The high number of repeat offenders and an 1846 inquiry into the operation of Kingston Penitentiary suggested that the Auburn system had proven ineffective in reforming inmates. Alternative architectural approaches were taken during the early 20th century to correct the design. The main element that had been taken into consideration as upgrading the prison was the programs that unite with it, which was later followed widely by the rest. Therefore, besides the design itself, the programs played a big role in reforming the inmates; the programs and design are equally important and complement each other.
On a global scale, majority inmates are male, but not denying the percentage of female inmates are increasing as compared to previous and the overall percentage of crimes and convicts are increasing. As for Singapore in particular, the overall recidivism rate for the prison population has remained as about twenty five percent for the release cohort of 2009 but also represents a slight increase from 2008 and the years below it.
There are four main types of prisons. First is the juvenile, it holds minor offender who have been remanded into custody or serving sentence. The second one would be military, it holds those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by military or civilian authorities or member of the military found guilty of a serious crime. The third is the political prison, which is or was maintained in certain countries. The last one, the fourth, is called psychiatric, this is due to the characteristics of a prison in some psychiatric, particularly when confining a patient who have committed a crime and considered harmful. Besides, there is allocation of psychiatric cells for inmates who are diagnosed with metal disorders.
Most prisons may be divided into two sections, one containing prisons before trial and the other containing convicted prisons. Prisons are also classified based on their security level; there are nine common levels. First is the supermax level which holds the "worst of worst" criminals who pose a threat to national security. Secondly would be the administrative level that usually houses mentally ill criminals who are harmful. Third level is called as maximum level which provides a maximum of external and internal control and supervision of inmates. Followed by high security level, it is also called the "middle ground" for violent crimes. It contains highly-secured perimeters; featuring wall and reinforced fences, highest staff-to-inmate ratio and close control of inmate's movement.
Medium security level, custody in which design, construction and inmate classification caters to the need to provide secure internal and external control and supervision of inmates. Close security level, houses inmates who are too dangerous to be placed in low security level prisons and also not worthy to be placed in medium security level prisons based on their crimes committed. Low security level, houses inmates who are not harmful to the society, they are provided with supervision and monitoring but their main goal is to return to the society after achieving a greater sense of personal responsibility and autonomy. Minimum security level prisons or institutions, houses petty or "White collar" criminals. It is typically a "Prison farm" or other work orientated facility. Pre-release custody emphasizes the provided freedom to control one's behaviour, actions and responsibility prior to their release. These categories of inmates are allowed to access into the community to work or for education sake with no direct supervision but intermittent observation maybe be required.
Different prisons from different countries provide different sorts of facilities, some might provide more, some might provide less. But over the years facilities have been upgraded for the betterment of inmates, to enhance their lifestyle. It started off with the basics, such as religious facility which also provides counselling in it,
healthcare, visiting area, a death row; which are provided in certain prisons for criminals awaiting execution, staff accommodation facility and service facility such as kitchen and so on. Later on the facilities has been upgraded
by providing recreational area containing television, radio, pool table and ext, co-curricular activities such as Art & Craft Club, games; badminton, basketball, chess, ext., having pets as company and as well as gym facility. Where else in certain prisons the usage of facilities are taken to the next level, for instance in California Mens Colony, inmates are allowed to have a personal television and a radio in their respective cells, as well as allowing inmates to cook in their cells.
So much has been done, so much has been upgraded baring the lifestyle of the inmates in mind. But what is happening behind bars, that is beyond the visibility of others, which is troubling the inmates. What is yet lacking, that is creating such havocs in each inmates' mind, which is affecting them mentally.
SURVIVAL BEHIND BARS
A whole life based on rules and a daily repeated routine with nothing more to be expected, circulating in the same sphere, the eye has nothing new to freshen up with, the word 'boring' best describes the feeling of each inmate who is trapped by the four high-rise walls. There might be little things to cherish about inside the four walls, the fact of being able to make social interaction with other fellow inmates and learn different language and cultures. Numerous prisons global wide merges different races of inmates into the same cell, which causes them to be more united. But it doesn't work the same to all inmates. An article by the title another day, another hustle (1999) by an ex-offender from the California Mens Colony, Medium Security, name David says, "Every race has their own beliefs, culture, ideology. You give me a celli from India; he is going to be cooking curry all day, a stench I can't stand. Give me an Arab celli; he might like to play Middle Eastern music out loud, which I don't really care for. It's very wrong to force someone to live with another race in such small quarters."
Literality living together in a hellhole with all sorts of offenders is difficult or rather not possible for all inmates to trust each other; a convict in an eye of a convict. David, an ex-offender, in one of his article titled Can't we all just get along?, had a conversation with one of the inmate from the same prison who said: "Every time I leave the cell, I set up a trap on my locker door. I put a mustard pack wedged in the corner of the door and close it shut. If I come back and open the locker door and the mustard pack doesn't fall, I know my celli is looking through my shit." Living in a same cell with a person who has no trust in you, creates depression as well.
Inmates are given the freedom to meet their family members during visiting hours and the freedom to post and receive letters from them. At the same time, they do go through depression for not being able to live with their loved ones. There was a short note left by a former prisoner of war in Changi Prison;
The husband is inside the iron bars,
the wife is outside the iron bars, looking in,
So near they are only separated by inches,
And yet so distant, like sky and depths of the sea.
What no words utter, their desperate eyes relate,
Before every word their eyes brim with tears.
Who could stand here and watch their meeting unmoved?
They as well go through depression of not receiving mails from family members during mail call and during visiting hours, especially for those who have been rejected or abandoned by their family members.
In certain prisons, prisoners are offered with jobs but with way lesser pay, therefore prisoners tries to make an
earning by either trading things or selling it for cash, like for instance washing the clothes of other prisoners, trading coffee sachets for a printout of television serials or other magazines.
Having lived in a solitary confinement can either cause positive or negative effects depending on the individual. It would be a perfect place to find one's self, to pursue knowledge, creativity, wisdom and understanding. Some of the world's best writings are derived from inside the hole; those are the men who found courage, determination and faith even during the time of adversity. The same hole can cause a person to lose his will, spirit and hope. Ex-offender David, in his article titled In the hole claims that "...windowless cells, I never experienced a moment outside past 3 p.m. I missed out on sunsets, the smell of fresh evening air, the sight of bright stars or the moon".
Solitary confinement and social isolation causes mental and emotional issues such as depression, despair, anxiety, rage, claustrophobia, hallucinations, impulse control problem, an impaired ability to think, vision, hearing, concentrate or remember, and aggressive behaviour. Naturally, human beings are curious. Confining inmates from social interaction, from exposure to the natural world, and anything that makes life human, can emotionally, physically and psychologically destruct the inmates since it does not provide them the ability to understand their selves as well as their world and their place and purpose in the world. Professor Paul Grobstein in his article neurobiology and behaviour claims that it is logical that we feel less stable and secure overall when the things that our brain and body rely on to connect to and understand our surroundings are taken away from us.
BOUNDARIES BEHIND FREEDOM
Confinement does not only occur in the prison it also occurs after the prisoners are out of prison. Imprisonment creates a huge social gap; offenders are neither trusted nor respected therefore they are not comfortable to mingle and move around among the society. Ex-offenders might have faced various sorts of failures before ending up in the prison, but the failure just doesn't end there, it continues as they get back out of the prison.
Survival in prison differs from survival outside prison; it requires two vastly different sets of skills. In prison inmates should have the capability to get along with other inmates as well as the environment, which can be brutal. Therefore prisoners might eagerly look forward to get into the streets back, streets that will seem greener to their eyes, a thought that might erase all their sufferings that they have gone through while they was serving their sentence in the prison. However, things does not always turn out to be as imagined, ex-offenders tend to face lots of issues then they would have expected, once they are out f the prison; jobless, no food to eat, no place to live. According to Stephanie Porter-Nichols in her article ex-offenders face fear of having nowhere to go said that an ex-offender who has been confined and released multiple times, Frankie Frazier declared that being in jail is scary, so is getting out. The stress of not knowing where you will be able to stay after release is immersing.
Most ex-offenders will face difficulty trying to adjust their relationship with their spouses and families who have changed and learned to live independently while the ex-offender was away. The families who look at the ex-offender as a shame might find it a burden to have them back home. Ex-offenders at this point of time will be facing a huge disappointment and a crush in heart looking at how difficult and how much of re-adjustment they are to go through which might lead them back to reoffending.
Imprisonment can as well cause culture shock. The offenders go through a total loss of autonomy while in prison due to lack of social skills that is needed to succeed in the society and also because their daily routine is determined by others. Ex-offenders might feel very out of place once they step into the streets again, that can provoke anxiety, and the longer they have been confined the greater the shock would be, the main reason would be by the pace of technological change that they have missed. This will cause them embarrassment and lack of familiarity with things which other people take for granted. Besides, due to autonomy loss, offenders might stop believing in them and in their life that will cause them to make irresponsible actions believing that it won't bother anyone else, especially their loved ones.
All sorts of issues and pressures faced by offenders, while in the prison and once out of prison. As a conclusion, it leads them to stress. Stress is divided into two categories, positive stress and negative stress. The type of stress which offenders face are the negative stress, and there are three types of negative stress; first one is called distress, it occurs when the ex- offender goes through a constant readjustment or alteration in a routine.
Distress is then divided into two, acute and chronic. Acute in an intense stress that appears and disappears quickly, where else chronic stress is a prolonged stress that continues for weeks or months that can even extend for years. This occurs when the ex-offender is constantly relocating places or jobs. The second type of stress which offenders face is hyperstress; this occurs when the ex-offenders are overloaded, which eventually can trigger emotional response. The third type of stress is called hypostress; it is the opposite of hyperstress, offenders face this sort of stress when they are confined, left with no challenges, which cause them to feel bored, restless and uninspired.
Stress contributes to mental illness such as anxiety and depression disorders. There are a few types of anxiety disorders which offenders face, regardless in the prison or outside prison. There are a total of six different types of anxiety disorders, out of six, a minimum of three types of anxiety disorders are faced by offenders; panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Prisoners who face panic disorder would go through a sudden strike of terror repeatedly with no warning, they might be having symptoms of choking and sweating that might make them feel like they are having a heart attack or even cause them to act out of control. Social anxiety disorder causes the ex-offenders to go through overwhelming worry and self-consciousness regarding to everyday social life, once they are out of the prison. They are often afraid of being judged by the society. Where else, generalized anxiety disorder involves excessive and unrealistic worry and tension over the offenders. Then there are eight various types of depression disorders, and out of eight at least two types of disorders are commonly faced among prisoners; major depression and dysthymia depression. When the offender goes through an episode of clinical depression, which occurs during the change of a lifestyle pattern along with a loss of interest in life, it is classified as major depression. Offenders, who face single, infrequent episodes of severe depression or recurrent long-lasting depression and as well have symptoms of mild form of illness, there are classified as having dysthymia depression. Most or precisely almost all of the disorders that are faced by convicts are treatable and even avoidable. The concept of rehabilitation in a prison, for the prisoners evolved after taking into consideration of all the sorts of disorders that are being barred by them due to their forceful lifestyle.
A prison sentence does not help to reduce future offences nor offenders; in fact it triggers increase of offenders to offend after imprisonment. Longer period of time being confined increases the level of possibilities of the offender to offend. Effective rehabilitation would instead help to reduce re-offence. Programs derived in community drives better percentages of reduction in re-offending compared to programs derived in the prison. This concludes that a better interaction and relationship with the society would create a better positive impact on the offender. Which also includes re-training prisoners mentally and emotionally in order to be able to operate successfully once they are back into the society, which is called as resocialization. In an interview with a New York Times in 1970, Rabbi Philip R. Alstat, an early champion of prison ministry who served as a chaplain for three decades for The Tombs quoted, "My goal are the same as those of those of the prison authorities, to make better human beings. The only difference is that their means of discipline, security and iron bars. Mine are the spiritual ministrations that that operate with the mind and the heart.
There is a wide source of programs offered to prisoners in the name of rehabilitation. For instance, Changi Prison Singapore, offers family-focused programs (FFP) to maximise inmates' interaction with family members to provide a form of early intervention to avoid further dysfunction. Religious programs are organised to provide spiritual guidance for the inmates that could encourage them mentally and emotionally. Other than that, work programs and educational programs are as well provided. In order to further enhance the inmates lifestyle, programs such as meditation and yoga are organised to help the inmates reflect of their life, their offence and to repent, as well as adapt a calm behaviour. But all of it is done as a routine, a program being organised on timing basis. What then happens before or after the timing of those programs? What happens while the inmates are confined in their given cells? How do they meditate and reflect on their crimes while they are confined? Or how would confinement bring a positive impact on them? What then about the public, what would change the perception of a prison or a prisoner? Between the public sphere and the prison sphere appears the boundary, what helps to then blur the boundary between them and as well to maximise their interaction? This is when design plays its role.
PLAY OF BOUNDARIES
The first boundary between the public and private worlds is the human body separating an inner self from the outside world. Human body, a personal space, that is defined as a small but invisible protective sphere or bubble that individuals maintain around them. Too much privacy; such as solitary, or too little privacy; such as crowding, creates imbalances that may have serious consequences upon overall well-being. 'The boundary between what we reveal and what we do not, and some control over that boundary, are among the most important attributes of our humanity'- Nagel (1998:3). Boundaries are systems of signs which symbolise the separation of two realms. There may be no intrinsic qualities to the subsections of the space between the public and the prison; it might be the way the space is subdivided through boundaries that creates its character.
Blurring boundaries between the public and prison are not the intention of creating a formless chaos that would also harm the safety of the public, but instead to allow sufficient flexibility to allow a dialogue between what is inside and what lies outside and to create a balance between them. This would eventually encourage the public to step into the prison sphere with confidence that would in overtime change their perception of the public on that particular sphere, and the people who lie in that sphere. The confidence from the public would be the key of enlightenment to the inmates and trigger excitement in them to get back to the public sphere and reunite, and not to re-offense again. This accomplishes the objective of blurring the boundaries between human and human; that is, ex-offenders and society by maximising the interaction between them while the offenders are still paying their sentence in the prison. Circulation could be a key point of interaction between them, which relates back to the formula of circulation; maximum circulation equals to maximum interaction. Besides, spatial depth place a big role when it comes to interaction. Spatial depth is closely related to spatial hierarchy; it is the journey from one realm to the other. It appears to be an effective architectural element to regulate perceptions of spaces. The deeper the spatial depth, the more the boundary is blurred. Leoben Austria Prison replaces walls of bricks with glass to create a transparency between two different realms, and maximising interaction and visibility between them.
Besides interaction with society, interaction with nature plays an equal role in healing the inmates. The rediscovery of the mind and body connection to healing has once again raised awareness of the importance of nature to overall health. Nature will psychologically help to change the inmates' feelings of depression, stress and anxiety to a more calm and balanced mood after spending time interacting with nature. The elements of nature that can cause such mood shifts are trees, flowers, wind, sounds of water and birds, sun light and fresh fragrances. The impacts that are being created upon the inmates' emotional responses include; water; a prime archetypal symbol of life and survival - calming and connecting, wind; symbolic of change and transience - ephemeral qualities such as breeze blowing through the trees, light; symbolic of renewal, energy, enlightenment, spirituality - representing wisdom with dramatic power to direct the eye and their attention and the final one would be trees; symbolic of the connection between heaven and earth - sheltering and protective. Sound is as well important; nature sound is the best medicine for prisoner's souls. Nature sound can be divided into two
categories; one would be the sound of animals while the other one would be sounds from natural phenomena. It provides loads of psychological positive benefits, such as overwhelming feel of calmness and peace. The boundaries between nature and inmates are important to be blurred in order to develop and maintain the physical and emotional health and well-being of each inmate that are being influenced by nature psychologically. Leoben Austria Prison provides an example of going against the norm and integrating nature into inmates' daily life. But is just looking towards nature good enough? Wouldn't designing a space within nature be even more effective?
Muting boundaries between human and architecture; between prisoners and prison, between an inmate and his respective cell. When then boundary between architecture and its surrounding is muted, it directly mutes the boundary between the consumer of that particular architecture with the surrounding as well. Tadao Ando, during in his project Ito House, claims that architecture differentiates nature, and also integrates nature. Through architecture, nature is reduced to its elements, and then, drawn into unity. Thus, nature is architecturalized and man's confrontation with nature is refined. Psychology of boundaries between architecture and nature are obvious when the spirituality of natural elements is emphasized by architecture by itself.
In a comparison, between Bjarke Ingels Group's SK2 forest crematorium and Tadao Ando's Naoshima contemporary art museum, it shows that the forest crematorium is built in the forest; within nature. The architecture is protruding out of the ground which gives a solid earthly feel and the closeness to nature. Where else, Tadao Ando's Naoshima contemporary art museum integrates nature but in a different approach. He describes the union of nature and architecture and the importance of merging them together. The nature then helps to blur the artificialness of the architecture and neutralises it. Tadao Ando's perception of nature is an element of peace and freedom of spirits. Tadao Ando: 1941 (Taschen Basic Architecture). As a conclusion, it does not matter where the architecture is sited, but muting the boundaries between architecture and nature to its core would create a closer relationship between the consumers of the architecture itself; that is the inmates.
Physical and behavioural effects between prisoners and their physical environment would become quite complex when elements of light and colour (shade or tint, warm or cool), texture (materials and surfaces), form and shapes and volume are taken into account. Light brings a spiritual feel in a space; this might explain why most religious building is designed based on lights. Besides spiritual there are also other sorts of lights such as meditative light, ephemeral light, ect. Forms of light include. Windows, sky frames, shadows and reflection. Artificial lighting is as well important because too brightly lit up or dimmed space does influence the inmates' behaviour. Much has been written about colours and its effects on human behaviour, for instance in Kuller : 1976 it is said that electroencephalogram and pulse rates of people recorded accelerated heart rates when in a grey room then in a colourful room. Multicoloured stained glass windows, varied materials, and textures on the floor, wall and ceiling, does not only influence the way an inmate would think, and it as well influences their intellectual development. Too large a structure can cause the prisoners to feel over whelmed and vulnerable while too limiting a physical structure could be constrictive.
Spatial design plays an important role in healing the inmates. "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us", said Winston Churchill. Therefore, questioning the boundaries of cell design in a prison that has been existed all this while would be the first step. In order to design a cell, it is important to know the purpose of the cell and the boundaries of it. Should a cell always be in square or rectangular shape? Could meditative or spiritual design concept heal the inmates? Tadao Ando's UNESCO meditation space is one of the approaches of how a prison cell could be designed. The design took into consideration the psychology of a circular space, enhancing the spirituality of the space by inviting natural light, creating a floating feel with a pond on the lowest level and considering the relationship of the building with the surrounding. Church of light, Osaka, Japan also by Tadao Ando could be considered as another design approach. Taking light as a concept and portraying the contrast between light and shades and as well as emphasizing the volume and lightness of the walls and ceilings using the illusion of light, proves his successful attempt of bringing holiness into the space and into the soul of the consumers.
It is necessary to give every offender another chance, another opportunity for a better change in their life, for they are equally human. "Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. That person is also a victim of ignorance, small-mindedness and lack of awareness. It's the stress, lack of broad vision about life, lack of understanding, and bad communication that leads to violence in society" claimed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of International Association for Human Values United States (IAHV). Therefore, on the overall scale it is obvious that the boundaries between inmates and society, inmates and nature and inmates and space should be muted to their limits to further meet the objective of rehabilitation and make it a truthfully successful attempt, which would eventually benefit both the society and ex-offenders and bring heaven into earth. This would drastically influence the statistics of crimes, a positive influence.
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