Architects, Ethics, and Prison Design
July 11, 2013 9:32 AM Subscribe
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (42 comments total)
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The American Institute of Architects’ Code of Ethics
[pdf] states that “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors." Raphael Sperry, president of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), wants to amend the code further so it reads "Members shall not design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement." From Architect Magazine
: “Should Architects Design Prisons?”
The pledge of the ADPSR Prison Alternatives Initiative reads
: "I believe that too many people are being incarcerated and that our society must immediately develop and implement alternatives to incarceration. I believe in creating a society with real security and social justice for all, and I will not contribute my design to the perpetuation of wrongful institutions that abuse others. In recognition of the deep injustice of the present prison system, I pledge not to do any work that furthers the construction of prisons or jails."
Specifically, there is a great deal of concern around both execution chamber suites and solitary confinement areas (also known as security housing units or SHUs, or Supermaxes). Solitary confinement can have detrimental
psychological and physical effects
on prisoners, and Sperry and others believe it is a violation of human rights equivalent to torture.
and Life of the Law
collaborated to produce an audio documentary, "An Architect's Code," about Sperry and the ADPSR's work around prison reform. (Each link includes a different print article along with a link to the co-produced audio doc.)
[Thanks goes to yerfatma--his comment in the earlier California prisoners' hunger strike thread
was the basis of this post.]