The Aesthetics of a Prison

Whether prison is supposed to punish people or reform them is an endless and tiring discussion. But either way, it seems that once people have “paid their debt,” we have to at least allow them the chance to become decent members of society again. There’s a strong stereotype that someone is made even worse by having gone to prison. One just has to consider multiple prison movies and TV shows, but there is also the concern that someone will no longer know how to function in the outside world once they leave prison, especially those with longer sentences.

Storstroem Prison in Denmark.

To attempt to alleviate these concerns, people have developed rehabilitation programs, like educational program to get degrees or learn practical skills. The goal of a prison, loosely stated, is to keep prisoners inside and control access to to them from outsiders. What if we could fulfill that goal, but we could also provide a more socially conscious environment that helps them become less institutionalized. The reason this could be important would be if it could help prevent repeat offenders (or at least lessen the number of repeat offenders).

Why mention this idea on this site? Every building has an aesthetic, some good and some bad. Prisons are generally built around function without much consideration for form. Perhaps, prison could fulfill their function, while also having a more aesthetic form. A prison in Denmark is attempting that very thing with their Storstrøm Prison. Whether or not it works, it is at least an interesting idea worth considering.

Read more about this prison HERE.


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