i + D - September/October 2020 - 31

The best correctional facility
designs are about building
trust: not only the trust
that corrections officers
place in the incarcerated,
but also trust between
the community and the
correctional facility.

The Visitation Center at the San Diego County Juvenile Justice Campus is flooded with
natural light and offers comfortable, inviting surroundings and exposure to the outdoors.
(Image: DLR Group)

Changing Expectations
Part of the challenge when designing for correctional facilities is to help
clients see what is possible. Before designing the new Franklin County
Corrections Center in Columbus, Ohio-which upon its spring 2021
opening will represent a deliberate shift in focus from containment to
treatment-based outcomes-architects from the Omaha, Nebraska-based
international architecture firm HDR spent time with architects of record
DLZ and client representatives touring facilities around the country,
including Las Colinas.
"Clients most of the time have only been in one jail. They've only worked in
one jail. They only know one way of doing things," explains HDR principal
David Bostwick, who oversees the firm's justice projects. Franklin County's
old jail, built in the 1960s, has been used "to convey a bad prison design,
sometimes in Arnold Schwarzenegger films," he adds. While county leaders
had asked for a facility representing best practices, the architects received
pushback from a sheriff and other jail officials. "What changed their mind and
perspective was to go out and tour other facilities and see how they were
doing it," Bostwick explains. "They would spend days in the units, observing,
talking to their peers, asking questions. And eventually they came around and
said, 'This is a better way to do things.'"
The best correctional facility designs are about building trust: not
only the trust that corrections officers place in the incarcerated, but also
trust between the community and the correctional facility. While architecture
is often about building walls, projects like the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility,
in the remote Rankin Inlet of Canada's Nunavut territory, remind us that
the design challenge here is also to break down barriers between citizens.

Designed by Parkin Architects Limited and completed in 2013,
this medium- and minimum-security facility for sentenced and
remanded individuals takes advantage of natural, everyday
materials-gypsum board cells, ceramic toilets, large windows
with expansive views-to remove any sense of an institutionalized
setting. This is based in part on a sensitivity to Inuit culture, which
embraces community interaction as part of the healing process.
"Jails are, as far as I'm concerned, a community amenity, just
like a hospital or school or library," says Parkin director Robert
Boraks. "The requirements don't allow people to leave, but that
does not mean the community cannot enter. The facility invites
the community in. Children play soccer in the yards and go inside
to use the toilets. The community is allowed to use the prison
gym. We're removing the stigma and supporting reintegration.
That reintegration starts by allowing the community to enter and
to heal."
The architect also stresses the importance of giving the incarcerated
small freedoms to build trust. "That may be as simple as an inmate
being able to turn on and off lights, to walk in and out with his or
her own key, to open a window and let in some fresh air," Boraks
says. "The ability to control one's environment is empowering.
People like to have privacy, access to air, access to views. This is
not abnormal. And one does not necessarily deny these human
needs just because society has decided to separate an individual
from the community."

i+D - September/October 2020

31



i + D - September/October 2020

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