Study Into Introducing A Environmentally Friendly Prison Criminology Essay

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On September 2010 in POLITIS newspaper, the journalist refers to the human rights at Nicosia Prisons. Unacceptable conditions in Central Nicosia Prisons , he writes prisoners are complaining about the water. The authorities stop the flow of the water for economic reasons, they support that the prisoners are taking baths many times in a week and they confined it to once a week shower. Under these conditions, the prisoners started to react and they denied taking lunch. The result was instead of winning the right they have of an everyday bath, they were punished, closed into cells for five full days, with closed windows ' no visual contact with the outside world, and deprived of the cooling system.

The purpose of the study is to introduce the idea of an environmental friendly prison. 'A prison system can only function where there is a balance between security and humane environment.' A prison where people inside will be educated and trained in sustainable theory and practice. The prison will offer a safe, fair, eco friendly environment, where inmates will do well while they spent their time of punishment. The environment will offer ways to improve their psychology and re-entering to society with a second chance for living well. 'Nobody is more of a slave, whom he thinks he is free.' The work of this study is to investigate a new green prison for Nicosia, Cyprus in Athalassa Park.

Athalassa Park is a place just outside of the capital city, where locals go in their free time for walking; cycling and kids go there to play. The choice of the specific place was taken after studies about the environment and how the nature of the park can influence in a good way the design and the psychology of space and the imprisonments. Athalassa park offer areas that the institution could interact with nature and also areas where inmates can work in, such as the farming area and the agricultural area.


Recently according to the articles that have been published for Central Nicosia Prison, conditions can be characterized as uncontrolled and inhuman. Could anyone imagine inmates granted a pardon because of space in prison? According to an article in web site named '''''-''''' - Counter Mobbing- on August 2010, the current government has given four times a pardon to prisoners because the number of inmates had increase almost two times of the capacity of the prison can hold. The standard capacity of Nicosia's Prison is 340 and the last year increased to the number of 703. This can be considering as the first motive that attracts a challenge to investigate architecture and prison. More issues transpire through the analysis.

'The question must therefore soon be settled as to what will be the character of these new building and in order to determine this question we must consider what our general approach to the whole problem of the treatment of the prisoner is to be' .

According to research and statistics, four to five offenders are male, men commit more crimes than a woman does. In contrast, to woman men can outnumber woman in major categories of crime. Eight-five to night-five percent men found guilty of burglary, robbery, drug offences, criminal damage or violence against other persons. The correctional institution will based mainly on reforming men and not woman because even in Cyprus men mostly make criminality.

A part of the research below it will concentrate on a brief analysis about the history of prisons. Through this study, we will see how through the years the prisons change and what influences have made prisons to change. From the 16th century where inmates used to be in one public cell and their punishment was in front of the community, to 18th century to prison hulks which were a type of correctional institutions that in the end were not effective because of the unacceptable conditions. In 19th century and early 20th century changes have been made to the theory of prison, such as the separation of young people from the oldest inmates, new ideas in reforming the prison in a new physical, educational environment.

Those who steal, those who rape, and those who kill all they are imprisoned in the same cell. Starting from this strange practice of imprisoning all in the same cells, is a newer technology of organization from the 16th to the 19th century, a set of procedures for police discipline control to the education of people making them both disciplinary and beneficial. Modern theorists they no longer believe that punishments are reforming criminals.

Prison Metamorphosis

In general, prison is a place where people live in restricted and underprivileged of a range of personal freedoms. The difference between a prison and a correctional institution is that prisons are working with the criminal justice system of a country and house only convicted criminals more periods than a jail, on the other hand a correctional facility or institution take part in the criminal justice system working and house inmates and convicted misdemeanants.

At the time of 16th and 17th century punishment for criminals used to be during public events that were designed to shame the person and discourage others; these included the ducking stool, the pillory, whipping, branding and the stocks. At the time, the judgment for many other offences was death. During these times, prison was just a place where inmates were held before the torture. People of all social classes were together held in one prison. The most important innovation of this period was the building of the prototype house of correction, the London Bridewell. Houses of correction were originally part of the machinery of the Poor Law, intended to instill habits of industry through prison labor. Most of those held in them were petty offenders, vagrants and the disorderly local poor. By the end of the 17th century, they were absorbed into the prison system under the control of the local Justices of the Peace.

Is this kind of punishment the solution for a better healthier community? Does the confession in front of people scare the inmates and if it does, would the crowd be influenced by watching them suffer? Do we need to go back to the 16th and 17th century living conditions?

Michel Foucault in his book 'Disciple and Punish' talks about the torture at the time of 1757. Damiens a convict was sentenced to confess in front of the crowd all his misconducts. The decision they made for Damiens to confess was not with words but make him suffer by burning his body with fire and then horses will drag him along the area until his body be fell apart. At the time of 1810 a new era had began for the reform of the way that convicts were treated. These kinds of punishments disappear with new laws. Laws support that this kind of treatment was inhuman and the punishment should not be a spectacle for other people. Each moment even the moment of confession is personal and shows human weakness.

In the same study, he writes that 'The body should not be touched or at least less possible and attempting to touch something that is not the body itself.' Here we can wonder, whether the author refers to metal punishment? We will see below that work i.e. hard labor began to be a new way of punishing the inmates. How does it affect them really? Can be working a way of punishment, and under which conditions can be seen as a punishment?

Moving forward at the 18th century, the century that has been characterized as the 'Bloody Code', the time that disagreements about death penalty have come to the foreground for all but the most serious crimes. The jurors had refused to find the guilty of offences that would lead to their execution so the punishment was not productive. By the middle of the century, hard labor began to seem proper for the petty offenders. On the one hand, there is the hard labor and on the other for the people that were unable for this was the correctional house. The House of Correctional was a practice in prison hulks that started from 1776 and stopped in 1857. Prison hulks were ships which where anchor in the Thames, Portsmouth and Plymouth. The prisoners that were sent to the ships were employed in hard labor during the daytime, at night they were sleeping in chains onto the ship. The hulk system did not work as long as the prison association wishes, the awful conditions on the hulks, the lack of control and poor physical conditions lead to the end of the practice. However, the idea behind has eventually influenced the public opinion and it has been seen as practical for crime penalty.

John Howard a penal reformer along with others had fated that the prison system was disorganized, barbaric and filthy. He assumed that the prisons need variety of reforms such as the installation of paid staff, outside inspection, a proper diet and other necessities of prisoners. Jeremy Bentham said 'the prisoner should suffer a severe regime, but that it should not be detrimental to the prisoner's health' and to ensure the separation of men and women. In 1791 Bentham designed the 'panopticon', a design allowing the central place to observe all the inmates and prison wings to be explanted as wings out from the central position.

From the above investigation we can obtain that, work in prison could be the solution of punishment but under the right conditions. Punishing them physically and in body does not mean that they need to be living ininhuman conditions and should suffer or harm their health. Those conditions of the 17th and 18th century remind the conditions of the Central Nicosia Prisons of 21st century. Although inmates are not punished in such ways of the past, they live in such conditions with no water, no natural ventilation they do not even have the right to have bath more than 2 times the week.

Later on in the 19th century, ideas relating to penal reform have come to the foreground. Many of these ideas related to the rehabilitation of offenders. Groups like Quakers and Evangelicals influenced in promoting ideas of reform through personal release. In 1816, the first national penitentiary was completed at Millbank in London. The penitentiary held 860 prisoners, which were kept in separate cells although association with others was allowed during the day. Working in prison was mainly a centre simple job like picking coir and weaving. In 1842 Pentonville prison was built using the idea of panopticon design which is still used today. The prison was design to hold 520 prisoners each one in separate cell measuring 5 meters long, 2.5 meters wide and 3 meters high. Pentonville was based on the separate system, which was solitary confinement, and later on 54 new prisons adopted the specific template. In 1877, prisons brought under the control of the Prison Commission. Even local prisons were controlled centrally and at the time, it was seen as a means to prevent offending and reoffending. At the end of the century, this was a movement away from the reforming ideals of the past. At the year 1898, the Prison Act confirmed that the main role of a prison should eliminate hard labor and that prison labor should be productive not least for the prisoners who should be able to earn their livelihood on release .

At the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th century there was recognition that young people should have separate prison establishments. Eventually the Borstal system was introduced in the Prevention of Crime Act 1908. This system support the hard physical work, technical and educational instruction and strong atmosphere, which at the end the young inmates would work through a series of grades based on privileges until release. New Hall Camp was the first open prison that opened in 1993. As Sir Alex Paterson said, 'You cannot train a man for freedom under conditions of captivity' and the idea behind the open prison is behind the words that Sir Alex said. In 1948, Criminal Justice Act stopped the hard labor and the flogging. A comprehensive system for the punishment and treatment of offenders had been presented. The center system is still the prison but the institutions have taken many different forms including remand centers, detention and Borstal institutions. In 1990 was the introduction of prisons that was designed, financed built and run by private companies. Private prisons supported that would be cheaper more innovative prisons while other organizations such as the Howard League argue that private prisons will be defective in principle and in practice. According to Michel Foucault the prison should not house over 200 imprisonments because overcrowded prisons are favors the criminality inside. They live together in a closed place where the stronger inmate can organize groups that will work for him inside the prison. For a new inmate he will try to be part of those groups and work for the strong one because he can feel the fear and the pressure. Overcrowded prisons create barracks of crime.

Michel Foucault in his book refers to the seven global offices for good prison conditions. The first of the seven global conditions is the transformation of behavior. Criminal detention should be an essential objective of transforming the behavior of individuals. Teaching the offender as a principal purpose of punishment is a sacred principle that formal appearance in the fields of science and especially in the field of legislation is very recent. Essential purpose of the penalty of deprivation of liberty is the training and social reintegration of the offender.

Secondly, the prisoners should be isolated or at least be separated in addition to the criminal gravity, their ages, trends, according their reforming techniques and their stages of change and their progress. 'The formation we use in prisons, we should have in mind the great physical and intellectual disparities that exist in temperament to convict the extent of the perversion of train unequal opportunities they present.' (February 1850) 'Distribution in prisons for people who are sentenced to less than one year in prison based on sex to the personality and the extent of criminal perversion'

Moving on to the third step are the penalties should be transformed in addition to the personality of the prisoners and with results that are shown with their progress. 'Because the main role of the penalties is the reform, it would be appropriate the prisoners to be redundant after they ensure their moral regeneration.' By 1945 the training process had been applied, which means that according to the prisoner personality and behavior they were moved forward from the isolation to the semi-freedom.

Number four is the condition of working. Work should be one of the most essentially issues of the reform and the gradual reintegration of prisoners. 'Criminal work should not be considered additional and somewhat increasing the penalty, but something like deprivation would be unacceptable.' Work should help prisoners to learn a new skill that would offer lifehoods to him and his family. 'Every prisoner should be submitted to work, no one can force into inactivity.'

Furthermore the education of the prisoner is necessary and also obligatory. Only education could be used as a correctional method. 'The treatment of the prisoner from any deleterious effect should tend to a general and professional education and his improvement.'

The sixth condition is the authority of the Technical Inspection of Detention. Each prison should be controlled by special officers which would be trained and have techniques that will satisfy the proper training session for people. 'In every prison most useful is the doctor. In all forms of imprisonment, nobody but the doctor could gain deeper trust of the prisoners. To know better what influence them, to be more effective in their relationships, be strictly speaking to give them a useful encouragement' Every correctional institution should work as a social and medical psychology service. The last one condition Foucault writes is that prisoners should be assisted in the final adjustment after their release. They should be supervised when they are released from prison and to offered support and assistance even after in later lifetime.

In addition, from the time that we are talking about reforming and educating it could not be called any more as a prison, that is the reason we are calling it 'correctional institution', that means that we need to know the history, the reasons why things have change are also how the environment of can affect the place. How we perceive what is around, does the environment affect the psychology and if it does how it can be improved it so that the prison can offer a healthier way of spending time of punishment.

Environmental Psychology

In the design of a correctional institution, it is not only the architecture that matters but also the social psychology and environmental psychology. "Prison environments are replete with aggressive behaviors, and people learn from watching others acting aggressively to get what they want'

However, to move forward we need to know some of the basic principles of environmental psychology in order to understand how the environment reacts to the psychology of the prisoners. Environmental psychology is the study of transactions between individuals and their physical settings. According to the environment and it is changes, their behavior and experiences are changing. The role of environmental psychology includes research and practice with aim to make buildings more humane and improving our relationship with natural environment.

An environment has complex elements and characteristics that are influenced the human behavior. Elements such as light and color, shades, whether warm or cool, textures such as materials and surfaces or even acoustic characteristics like noise. 'Light is the most effective element in creating a sense of mystery and fear, and the manipulation of light is a principal agent in the creation of shrines and religious buildings.' Recent studies have shown that when a person exposed to colors he immediately changes his behavior and sensitivities are shown to his conscious. For example, the color red can have dramatic psychology effects; it can release the adrenalin, elevate heart rate and increase in gastric activity. Electroencephalogram and pulse rates of people recorded accelerated heart rates when in a grey room than in a colorful room Questions have come to the foreground after studies, questions such as is there an optimum or minimum requirement to lighting before one is either frustrated due to light conditions. Moreover, does the environment cause physical stress due to air temperature or from noise? Is the scale of a structure an issue of psychology, too big of a structure may make a person feel overwhelmed and vulnerable while too limiting can be constrictive to movement to not only one person but entire group?

For example, in a study that students of human nature have declared that the traditional type of a prison with the stone and steel is so forbidding and hopeless in its aspect as to make difficult the more recently demanded task of improving the individual character of the prisoner. The students point out that because of this environment the prisoners even when they released are anti-social and more dangerous and the most important the prison has failed in the whole purpose.

Environmental psychology can be separate into several elements. Elements of the environmental psychology can be considering the attention of the environment, preferred environment, environmental stress and coping, participation and conservation behavior. Attention is the first component that describes how the human behavior is influenced by with how people notice the environment.

People seek out places where they feel capable and confident, places where they can make sense of the environment while also being engaged with it, this is the main problem of the preferred environment. At this point it is important to go back to the correctional institution and point out that even as an institution with inmates, it has to be a place where people live and feel capable and confident. It is important to understand and pay attention to the environment around and to concern themselves with it, work with it, learn about it and take care of it. Preserving, restoring, and creating a preferred environment is thought to increase sense a of well being and behavioral effectiveness in humans.

Moreover, another module is the environmental stress and coping where people are influenced from stressors such as noise, climates changes and those issues indeed chance the psychology of the human and at times his behavior. When this happens people are trying to change their environment and in addition to defuse, to feel stressful effects and to create an environment more supportive by using for example smaller scaled settings, territories, using more warm colors and let natural environment to be part of their physical world.

An important part as we move on is the participation of people in the environmental design. People feel important and confident when they are being asked about their beliefs and when their comprehensions of environmental issues are promoted. If we take notice of the above point, the correctional institution should be a place where inmates do not lose their personality and character inside. Their opinion is listen by the staff where their issues are taken seriously and when their time is coming to leave from that place, to feel that they have gone through good changes and to feel confident.

Last element of environmental psychology is the conservation behavior, an element that brings issues that develop an ecological and sustainable society. It explores environmental attitudes, perceptions and values as well as intervention techniques for promoting environmentally appropriate behavior and this we will try to achieve in the correctional institution.

Until recently in most prisons around the world imprisonment itself was the punishment. Living conditions in prisons usually were sufficient to sustain the lives of the inmates. In some counties even in 21st century these conditions still exist, still the imprisonment is the punishment for the felonies committed although many efforts have been made in the past for a more sustainable and healthy living for the imprisonment. A well-known example is the Cherry Hill Penitentiary in Pennsylvania in 1822 by the architect John Haviland. The aim of the architect was to design a healthy penitentiary where prisoners will enjoy almost all the comforts of life that are lack in a usual prison.

Haviland's plan of 1821 presents a walled prison enclosure 640 feet square with only one entrance minimize the danger of escapes. A large central gateway was fifteen feet wide and twenty feet high with oaken gates and iron portcullis. The facade of the prison was in Gothic style and was included a guard in each end. The front building of the prison was to house the warden and the principal keeper's apartments and offices. The services and facilities will be hold in the basement of the building a place where will keep the staff as far away as possible from the inmates. The cellblocks radiating from a central rotunda (circle room) behind the main building and were to be a one story structure each one with thirty-six outside cells. The officers where to look on the cellblocks from the corridors, through a small inspection peepholes. Between the cells and the corridors were to be no doors and all food and work materials would be passed through a hole so the prisoner could not look out.

Each cell it should have a small opening on the roof and the bed could swing on the wall during the time so the prisoner can have more free space during the daytime. The architect even at the time of the 18th century had thoughts of a sustainable a function system such as the toilet system. Haviland designed basic flush toilets for each cell with individual solid pipes that all lead to a central sewer under the corridors. The idea behind was that the pipes at the time that would be open where to work as a way to communicate between the cells. The toilet would be flushed several times daily and other times were to contain water to prevent drain gas from rising. Moreover, each cell would have a tap and vents for fresh water and fresh air and heating. The entrance of the cell was to be by two doors on the outer wall, one of solid wood and the other one of iron that would lead you to the individual walled exercise yard. Haviland thought that each prisoner has the right to exercise, work, and sleep in completely privacy.

From a central rotunda, a guard would be able to observe each inmate as they exercise in the yard. The radiating corridors were to allow the fullest observation of all the activities of inmates and officers. Lastly the architect believed that his radial plan allowed the maximum circulation of air and light, and without number of building he succeed to have an enclose prison that have no hiding places for escapes

The facade of the prison had been said by others that it was not only appropriate but also instrumental 'the design and execution import a grave, severe and awful character' the effect which it produces on the imagination'is peculiarly impressive, solemn, and instructive' the broad masses. The small and well proportioned apertures, the community of lines and the bold and expressive simplicity which characterize the features of the facade, are most happily and judiciously combined.' The Cherry Hill was described as a 'truly a palace', but does in the end prove successful. The important element is the idea behind of the whole investigation, and the hope that it may succeed as a design for a healthy physical and mental environment.


Alexander Maconochie was one of the most well know reformers that spend his life trying to achieve a better environment for the imprisonments. He believed that as cruelty debases both the victim and society, punishment should not be vindictive but should aim at the reform of the convict to observe social constraints, and a convict's imprisonment should consist of task, not time sentences, with release depending on the performance of a measurable amount of labour.

Maconochie was most well known for the introduction of his reward system where prisoners would earn marks or credits for good behavior and hard work. Now in 21st century the Alexander Maconochie Centre, the AMC first prison, will open. The AMC prison we will have as an aim the equality between the imprisonments, 'no matter how many people are affected by crime, how many victims there are or what the nature of the crime is, imprisonment is the harshest punishment our society imposes.'

Simon Corbell in his presentation about the AMC prison said 'Today, we accept, although I don't think uniformly in our community, that offenders are sent to prison as punishment not for punishment and the view that a prison sentence is also an opportunity for offenders to change their attitudes and behaviour is prevalent in our community, although I would again say not uniformly.' The name of the new prison took it after Alexander Maconochie said his last words about prisons 'My experience leads me to say that there is no man utterly incorrigible. You cannot recover a man except by doing justice to the manly qualities which he may have and giving him an interest in developing them.'

What is the different from any other prison of 21st century? AMC prison based on the human rights legislation and principles. All human rights are necessary for individuals to live a healthier life and no one worth to punish in a mean, inhuman way and everyone must be treated with humanity and with respect. The design of the building would be an open campus style facility that accommodates units around a central service area including rehabilitation program, education and health areas. The prisoners will be separate to low, medium and high security. Negative psychological impacts for staff and prisoners that happen, to large prisons and make them feel overwhelmed by the scale and the size of the facility will avoided. The building will be designed in this to accommodate up to three hundred prisoners of all classifications and this because the smaller it is the atmosphere you receive will be positive and will encourage positive attitudes for behavior and rehabilitation.

Alexander Maconochie Centre will also focus on sustainability in terms on design and operation achieves a four star energy performance rating. It requires a minimal energy to meet demands and maximize the use of renewable energy sources such as solar hot water and low lighting, minimize the demand for potable water and maximize the reuse of grey water and last the rainwater that will be collected on site.

In conclusion, AMC center is a revolution of a prison in the 21st century that is based on the human rights and environment. 'Environment is not kind to questions of human rights in general and in particular to their extension to prisoners' human rights are now more important that any time in the past and it can express the building form and influence the prison experience in it.

We have investigated two examples of prisons, a prison, system that is almost two hundred years old, and an example from the 21st century. In both examples, the important principle was the sustained living of the prisoner and basic the human rights. These ideas need to be adopting in the design of the Correctional Institution in Nicosia. The Correctional Institution needs to be based on the human rights, inmates of the institution need to be learn and be trained in new skills, skills that will help them have a second change in returning back to society. By working inside, they will retrieve their psychology and believe in themselves. 'There's no point training them to milk a cow if there's no job for a dairyman outside,' that's why inside the Correctional Institution will learn all kinds of learning, from the basic numeracy to how they can make an installation panel. In the area of Athalassa Park there are farm lands that inmates can work and practice their skills and at the same time offer their help to the community. Giving opportunities to the prisoners to work in the community and feel that they are part of it instead of isolating those helps prisoners in their psychology and is a big motivator for them to see life in a different way.

The building will be sustainable from inside to outside. The institution will encourage everyone to become 'fighters' for the planet. The inmates will be inspired and trained through correctional programs that are designed to improve inmates psychology in combination with the principles of sustainability and to connect them to the larger world. The institution will house instructors of all the kinds to educate the inmates about green living and sustainability. The staff as well as the inmates will develop cost effective environmental practices, i.e. they will recycle, do organic gartering, and produce their own products. A significant point is the connection of the institution with the nature. Sustainable agriculture, ecology, energy efficient and building with recycle materials using natural light and ventilation as far as possible and be constructed to minimize waste. Because prisons are small cities in their 24/7 use, from housing to food, from educational programs to training programs they can be extremely costly. However, with sustainable practices we can minimize their impact and lessen the burden to the environment.

The prisons do not diminish the number of criminality even if we build new ones, in addition enlarges the criminality. Prisons instead of teaching inmates to hope and try a better life and psychology are increases the chances for the prisoners to go back again. Huge amounts of criminals are past prisoners, 7000 people every year are sent back to prisons. Prisons construct the criminals, constructs them in the way of living, the attitude that they receive in the prison, attitudes of aggressiveness and fear. Sometimes it isolates them in indescribable conditions even obligate them to work in futile works that the inmate will never find useful later on in life.


The role of the prison is to support and educate the inmates, to teach them respect and follow the law but having the feeling of injustice will make the character of the prisoner rebellious. When he feels exposed to cruel conditions and sufferings he grow to feel angry. Even after, when the prisoner released, the prisoner will have to be under observation, or they are under restriction residents and they need to carry an identity that is longer stigmatized. The result even when they are released they still do not fell free and this prohibits them from finding a job because of the stigmatized identity. A tragic example that presented in the Courts Newspaper was that of a man that who was arrested for stealing and he spent his penalty and now is again arrested and no lawyer to defend him. The story was like that, when the man was then free he was under residence restriction, he tried to find a job but because of his identity no one want him. Even when he wanted to leave town to find a job somewhere else a job the law did not allowed it. He is on the road without having anything to eat because of the depressive observation. Without any other solution, he went to the town hall and begging for a job where they give him a job from cleaning the cemetery. They money were very few and they only took him for eight days. He says, 'I am young, I need to eat, I need a place to sleep and I need to wash and clean my clothes, how can I leave with a salary like this, when the salary I take is the money you are paid for each day you work. I really wanted to be honest again after my release but I could not, the system leads me here again' . We can clearly see here that the situations and the limitations that prisoners have after their release are not helping them to move on in their life's, in addition are holding them back and direct them again to the criminality and to stealing.

In conclusion the need of new prisons in Nicosia, leads to the need for a new place that will house the prisoners giving them the opportunity for starting a new life inside and then outside. The new skills will offer them new jobs, the education will propose new roads to follow and the environment will help support their psychology of seeing the life with a new way.