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Despite longstanding implicit recognition of the significance of prison space, which can be traced back at least as far as Bentham’s notion, introduced in 1791, that prisoner reform and wellbeing are achieved in part by a ’simple idea in architecture’, prison architecture, design and technology (ADT) remain underresearched and poorly theorized. This exploratory paper reviews some of the literature on carceral space, principally from human geography, but also from criminology and environmental psychology. It poses questions which point to the pertinence of research into prison design at a critical juncture in penal policy in the UK, as the Ministry of Justice rolls out a ’new for old’ policy, closing down at least thirteen historic prisons and partially closing several other sites, and commissioning new, large custodial facilities which appear to represent a return to previously shelved plans for warehouse-style ’Titan’ prisons. The paper argues that carceral geography’s concern for the lived experience of spaces of imprisonment could provide a unique and insightful perspective on this critical area of scholarship, and suggests new areas for future research which could generate the empirical material necessary to research this critical topic.
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Linking the carceral and the puni tive state :
A review of research on prison architecture,
design, technology and the lived experience
of carce ral space
Associer les états carcéral et punitif : vers une recherche
sur l’architecture carcérale, conception et techniques
d’aménagement de l a prison et le vécu de l’e space
Dominique Moran
Reader in Carceral Geography School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences,
University of Birmingham
Yvonne Jewkes
Professor of Criminology Department of Criminology, University of Leicester
Despite longstanding implicit recognition of the significance of prison space,
which can be traced back at least a s far as Bentham’s notion, introduced in 1791,
that prisoner reform and wellbeing are achieved in part by a simple idea in
architecture’, prison architecture, design and technology (ADT) remain under-
researched and poorly theorized. This e xploratory paper reviews some of the
literature on carceral space, principally from human geography, but als o from
criminology and environmental psychology. It poses questio ns which point to
the pertinence of research into prison design at a critical juncture in penal policy
in the UK, as the Ministry of Justice rolls out a ’new for old policy, closing
down at least thirteen historic prisons and partially closing several other sites,
and commissioning new, large custodia l facilities which appear to re present a
return t o previously shelved plans for warehouse-style ’Titan’ prisons. The paper
argues that carceral geography’s concern for the lived experience of spa ces of
imprisonment could provide a unique and insightful perspective on this critical
area of scholarship, and suggests new areas for future research which could
generate the empirical material necessary to research this critical topic.
Malgré une reconnaissance implic ite ancienne de l’importance de l’espace
de la prison, remontant au moins à la conception de Bentham datant de
1791 et selon laquelle la transformation morale et le bien ê tre du priso nnier
peuvent être réalisés en partie dans e t par l’architecture, l’aménagement et les
techniques architecturales déployées en m ilieu carcéral, demeurent sous investis
et insuffisamment théorisés. Cet article e xploratoire passe en revue la littérature sur
l’espace c arcéral, principalement issue de la géographie humaine, ma is aussi de la
criminologie et de la psychologie environnementale. Il questionne la pertinence
de la recherche consacrée à la conception de la prison à un moment crucial
le ministre britannique de la justice déploie un programme déjà ancien, prése nté
comme nouveau cependant, et qui consiste à fermer six prisons historiques, à
fermer part iellement trois autres sites et à planifier la construction de nouvelles
structures de grande taille semblant augurer d’un retour aux prisons gigantesques
Ann. Géo., n° 702-703, 2015, pages 163-184, Armand Colin
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
sur le modèle « des dépôt de prisonniers ». Cet article démontre que l’intérêt de
la géographie carcérale pour la dimension vécu e des espaces d’emprisonnement
peut fournir une c ontribution pertinente et originale da ns ce champ d’analyses
critiques et suggère de nouvelles pistes de recherche destinées à la production de
nouvelles données empiriques sur ce sujet sensible.
Keywords prison architecture and design, carceral geography, carceral spaces.
Mots clés Architecture de la prison, géographie carcérale, espaces carcéraux
Prison design is crucial to the understanding of carceral space, in that it is the
process which determines, in large part, how the goals of a criminal justice system
are materially expressed and experienced. As Wener has argued:
“jails and prisons represent more than just warehou ses of bed space for
arrested or convicted men and women. The y are more complicated envi-
ronments than just good or bad, comfortable or not. The design of a jail
or prison is critically related to the philosophy of the institution, or maybe
even of the entire criminal justice system. It is the physical manifestation of
a society’s goals and approaches for dealing with arreste d and/or convicted
men and women, and it is a stage for acting out plans and programs for
their addressing their future” (2012, 7).
With Wener’s proposition in mi nd, this paper begins to explore the ways
in which an understanding of prison design could enable better understanding
of the l i ved experience of carceral spaces and offer a starting point for future
research in human geography. The paper first outlines the recent development
of carceral geography, before considering the nature of carceral spaces in relation
to prison design, particularly in the UK context, and posing a series of questions
which could shape the contours of future work in this field.
1 Carceral Geography
Carceral geography is an emergent and vibrant field of geographical research
concerned with the spaces and practices of incarceration. The field i s informed
by and in dialogue with the work of Goffman (1961) on the ‘total institution’,
Foucault (1979) on the deve lopment of the prison, surveillance and the regulation
of space and docility of bodies, Agamben (1998, 2005) o n spaces of exception,
de Certeau (1984) on the strategies of the (relatively) powerless when o cc upying
and moving through controlled spaces, and theories of liminality (Van Gennep
1960) and mobility (see , for example, Moran et al., 2011, 2013a). It is also,
of course, informed by much longer-standing academic e ngagement s with
incarceration, namely criminology and prison sociology, and in particular with
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
these disciplines’ increasing concern for an understanding of prison space (Jewkes
& Johnston, 2007, Hancock & Jewkes, 2011). Previously the primary focus
within criminological prison studies has been on prison time: for example, ther e
have been longitudinal studies of imprisonment rates, levels of overcrowding
and prisoner welfare (e.g. Jacobs & Helms 1996, Stucky et al., 2005), analyses
of individual prisoners’ experiences of adjustment to the temporal rhythms and
restrictions of incarceration (e. g. Warren et al., 2004, Thompson & Loper
2005), discussions which focus on the experience of time as a distinct pain
of imprisonment (Medlicott 1999, Jewkes 2005), and studies which argue that
imprisonment is a discrete period of time distinguished from the rest of a prisoner’s
lifecourse (e.g. Pettit & Western 2004). It has, then, long been appre ciated that
‘time is the basic structuring dimension of prison life’ (Sparks et al., 1996, 350).
Recent work on prison space within criminology, and in particular that of
Jewkes & Johnston (2007), Hancock & Jewkes (2011) and Crewe et al (2014)
has much to offer to carceral geography, which has been described (by Philo
2012, 4) as a sub-strand of ‘g eographical security studies’, drawing attention to
consideration of ‘the spaces set aside for ‘securing’ det ain ing, locking up/away
problematic populations of one kind or another’. As argued elsewhere (Moran
2013a), however, a more nuanced interpretation is emerging in the field. In
this interpretation, three main areas of interest can be characterised, broadly
conceived as the nature of carceral spaces and experiences within them, the spatial
geographies of carceral systems, and the relationship between the carceral and an
increasingly punitive state.
Taking these in turn, it is clear that the scholarship in the se three areas offers
new perspectives on imprisonment, and that ongoing research enables novel
understandings of t he experiences of carceral spaces to develop. First, in work
on the nature and experience of carceral spaces, theorizations of incarceration
informed by Foucault are debated and contested. In her work examining a
prison for women in South Africa, Dirsuweit (1999) shows that rather than
being rendered ‘docile’, prisoner resistance to omni-disciplinary control was
expressed through the reclaiming of culturally-defined prison space. Sibley and
van Hoven also contest the Foucauldian regulation of prison space and the
docility of bodies, describing in New Mexico, ‘spaces... produced and reproduced
on a daily basis’ (van Hoven & Sibley 2008, 1016), and the agency of inmates
making ‘their own spaces, material and imagined’ (Sibley & van Hoven 2008,
205). In the UK, Baer (2005) identifies the personalization of prison space, and
suggested that this spatial modification reflected the construction of the meaning
of prison spaces. More recently, de Dardel (2013) has considered individual
and collective prisoner agency within a Colombian prison system absorbing a
New Prison Culture inspired by the US prison system , Milhaud and M oran
(2013) identify the ways in which prisoners in France and Russia consciously
negotiate tactical spati al manoeuvres to find solitude in crowded prison spaces,
and Conlon (2013) has considered prisoner hunger strikes as a form of cou nter-
conduct’, a practice that enacts a right to question how subjects are governed.
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
This scholarship highlights that prisons are institutions in which, as Je wkes (2013,
128) notes in the lexicon of de Certeau (1984), the powerful construct and
exercise their power, but the weak tactically create their own spaces within those
places, ‘making them temporarily the i r own as they occupy and move through
them’. Human geographers writing in French have also incorporated spaces
of incarceration into their scholarship, for example with Fior (1993), Lamarre
(2001), Milhaud (2009a and b) and Chantraine (2005) exploring the lived
experience of spaces of detention in Switzerland, Canada and France respectively.
Ricordeau and Milhaud later (2012) focused on how prison spaces are sexualised,
and Touraut has addressed the collateral damage of incarceration in terms of
mobility of prisoners’ families and their negotiation of the prison boundary
(2009, 2012). Work in French and Russian prisons (Milhaud and Moran 2013)
has attempted to consider the extent to which specific spaces within prisons in
these two different penal systems are experienced as ‘public’ or ‘private’, and by
extension, whether these spaces require or facilitate the performance of ‘front’
and ‘backstage’ prisoner identities. The comparison of Russia an d France enabled
two different philosophies of confinement translated into material form, to be
held in comparison with one another. Whereas the architecture of French prisons
promotes the separation of inmates through cellular confinement (Demonchy
1998, 2000, 2004), deterring inmates’ free association, in the Russian syste m,
prisoners are commonly accommodated together in communal detachment blocks;
in this context de privati on of liberty should not involve isolation from society
(Oleinik 2003).
Second, spatial geographies of incarceration have been inspired by concern
for the impact of the distribution of places of incarceration on the communities
which host or surround them, and they frequently critique and reinterpret
ideas of the ‘total instituti on’Goffman (1961). Mitchelson (2012) on spatial
interdependenci es between prisons and cities in Georgia, USA, Che (2005) on
the location of a prison in Appalachian Pennsylvania, USA; Glasmeier & Farrigan
(2007) on impacts of prison development in per sistently poor r ural places in the
US, Engel’s (2 007) rese arch on prison location in the American MidWest, and
Bonds’(2009) questioning of prison siting as a means of encouragi ng economic
development, are examples in this area, as well as studies of the effects of these
‘geographies of punishment’on experiences of incarceration (e.g. Moran et al.,
2011, Pallot 2007). Gill (2013, 2 6) explores th e use of Electronic Monitoring as
an extension of mainstream carceral environments, suggesting that confinement
can be independent of physical restriction, and drawing on Carnochan’s (1998)
observation that forms of punishment that are not explicitly prison-based can
be just as constraining, in a different sense, as traditional incarceration. A major
contribution of t his body of work is in its suggestion that the ‘carceral’is something
more than merely the spaces in which individuals are confined rather, that the
‘carceral’is a social and psychological construction relev ant both within and
outside physical spaces of incarceration.
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
This understanding of the nature of the ‘carceral’ informs the third strand of
research, into the relationship betwee n the se spaces and practices of im prisonment
and a punitive state. For example, Allspach (2010), suggests that ‘transcarceral’
spaces form beyond prison walls and constitute re-confinement, and others see
the ‘carceral’ as i nscribed on the bodies of prisoners who carry these markings
after their release from confinement (Moran 2012, 2013b, 2015). Peck (2003)
and Peck & Theodore (2009) have discussed the relationship between prisons
and the metropolis in t he context of hyperincarceration, in the aftermath of
what Wacquant (2011, 3) describes as ‘a brutal swing from the social to
the penal management of poverty’ particularly in the United States, with a
‘punitive revamping’ of public policy tac kling urban marginality through punitive
containment, and establishing a ‘single carceral continuum’ between the ghetto
and the prison (Wacquant 2000, 384). Seeing the prison as a locus on the
carceral continuum resonates with the w ork of Baer & Ravneberg (2008) who
problematise the conceptualisation of a binary distinction between ‘inside’and
‘outside’, instead positing prisons as ‘heterotopic spaces outside of and different
from ot her spaces, but still inside the general social order’ (ibid., 2008, 214).
The work of social theorists and geographers such as Wacquant (2010a, b &
c), Gilmore (2007) and Peck & Theodore (2009), calls for greater attenti on
to the causes of and solutions to hyperincarceration (Wacquant 2010b, 74),
‘prisonfare’ (Wacquant 2010c, 197), and the carceral churn’ (Peck & Theodore
2009, 251). More recently, scholars hav e drawn attention to specific facets of
the relati onship between the ‘carceral’ and the state, with Mitchelson (2013)
analysing the political controve rsy over the counting of prisoners in the US
Census where prisoners are ‘counted’ as residents of the prison where they are
held rather than as residents of the places from which they have come, with
the result that prison populations are used for political purposes (such as the
allocation of federal funds) from which disenfranchised prisoners are generally
excluded. Simi larly, Nowakowski (2013) has drawn attention to the use of US
prisoner labour, unprotected by workers’ rights or health and safety inspections,
to conduct hazardous waste-processing activity in ways which both subsidise the
costs of imprisonment, and undercut private recycling companies.
Taking an overview of the scholarship produced by geographers concerned
with incarceration enables the notion of the ‘carceral’ t o be brought more clearly
into view. Dynamically open to transdisciplinarity with the cognate disciplines of
criminology and prison sociology, carceral geography is informed by and extends
theoretical developments in human geography, but it also, critically, interfaces
with contemporary debates such a s the ongoing discussion of the aim and purpose
of imprison ment and the relationship between prison commissioning and design
and the achievement of those aims and purposes. These issues animate an d cut
across all three strands of research, addressing: the nature and experience of
carceral spaces; how and why carceral spaces are designed and with what purpose;
where new build prisons are located and why; and directly linking the physical
environment of imprisonment to the punitive intentions of the governing state,
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
in that the prison as it is materially constructed becomes an expression of the
aims and purposes of imprisonment for that state.
Although prison design is the critical linkage between the notion of the
’carceral’ and the punitive state, it is curiously under-researched. In the next
section of the paper we synthesize the work which has been conducted so far,
and relate this to current policy developments in the UK context.
2 Prison design
In 1961 a special i ssue of British Journal of Criminology was devoted to prison
architecture but, subsequently, crim inological scholarship on prison design has
been sparse and largely historical, focusing on the 18th/19th century ‘birth of
the prison’. Criminological prison research has been dominated by Sykes’ (1958)
notion of the ‘pains of imprisonment’, but recent studies have begun to introduce
new themes that illuminate the experience of incarceration, including discourses
of legitimacy and non-legitimacy (Sparks & Bottoms 1995); security (Drake
2012); therapy (Stevens 2012); compliance and neo-paternalism (Liebling 2004,
Crewe 2009); quality of life and healthy prisons (Liebling & Arnold, 2002, 2004);
normalization (Jewkes 2002); the depth, weight and tightness of imprisonment
(Crewe 2009); the resurgenc e of the doctrine of less eligibility (White 2008); and
the UK Prison Service instruction that prisons must meet a public acceptability
test (Liebling 2004). However, these studies have not included architecture,
design and technology (ADT) as k ey variables, and the most vivid descriptions o f
ADT and their effects are to be found in prisoner autobiographies (e.g. Hassine,
2010) and in the kind of poetic testimonies discussed by McWatters (2013). In
this work, McWatters adds to understandings of how prison space is actually
experienced by those for whom ‘it is an ordinary space of daily life’ (2013, 199).
The late 1980s saw brief interest in prison design and prisoner wellbeing
develop in envi ronme ntal psychology, with research identifying a link between
physical envi ronment and social climate (Houston et al 1988) and finding
that prison architecture which creates overcrowded conditions causes s ignificant
stress to inmates (Schaeffer et al 1988). A). Canter (1987: 227) argued that a
“systematic, scientific evaluation of the successes and failures” of prison design
was urgently required in order to explore this relationship further. No such
evaluation has taken place, however, and in the intervening period, research in
environmental psychology has tended to focus its attention mai nly on negative
prisoner behaviours and the risk factors which are perceived to contribut e towards
them; for example, focusing on ‘hard’ prevention techniques for prison suicide,
such as developing cell designs with no ligature points from which prisoners can
hang themselves. In other words, environmental psychologists have focussed on
the design of carceral spaces to reduce prisoners’ destructive behavi our while
maximizing control on the part of the prison authorities (Tartaro 2003, Krames
& Flett 2000). An attempt has been made to establish a li nk between different
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
architectural t ypes (determined by satellite imagery) and the regimes assumed to
exist wit hin them, and ‘misconduct’ on the part of inmates (Morris & Worrall,
2014), although the methodology nece ssarily precludes further explication of the
means by which any such linkages take form.
Recent work within carceral geography has addressed the significance of
carceral space (Moran et al 2013b), recognizing space as more than the surface
where sociale practices take place (Gregory & Urry, 1985, Lefebvre 1991, Massey
1994, 2005). As Adey (2008: 440) argues, “specific spatial structures... can...
have certain effects”. Designers of spaces consider seductive spatiality (Rose et
al., 2010) or ambient power (Allen 2006) through which to direct or shape
human behaviour. Although geographers understand that space can affect the
ways people act within it, and are increasingly applying this perspective to carceral
spaces, Siserman (2012) points out that studies of prisons as buildings and
environments where the behaviour of inmates can be dramatically changed, and
which investigate ho w this might happen, remain scarc e.
Despite, then, a guarded acceptance across several disciplines that the design
of carceral spaces has a direct effect on prisoner behav iour and control (Foucault
1979, Alford 2000), t he lived environment of prisons, including the potential for
positive individual and group e xperi ence (personal development, sociab ility and
pro-social skills) has been relatively overlooked in recent scholarship. Moreover,
the dominance of psychological studie s in extant research on t he prison envi-
ronment has led to a rather narrow range of largely quantitative methodologies,
including: urine tests to determine stress responses (Schaeffer e t al 1988); the
deployment of suicide or misconduct statistics as a proxy for stress, towards which
environment might be a contributory factor (Tartaro 2003, Morris & Worrall
2010); and true/false questionnaire responses as part of the Correctio nal Institu-
tion Environme n t Scale (CIES), which has no explicit environmental dimension;
simply being used to measure ‘wellbeing’ in different institutions (Houston et al.
1988). Having recognised that the carceral environment ‘matters’ to prisoners’
experiences, and demonstrated it to some degree using these methodologies,
without exception, these studies call for a more nuanced invest i gation of the
impact of design on those using prison spaces. Whilst ADT is o ne of a multitude
of factors which shape prisoner experience, such as prison management regimes,
staff attitudes, and so on, it is the least researched.
Recent hardening of penal sensibilities in the UK, coupled with more severe
sentencing policies (Criminal Justice Act 2003), growing prominence of s ecurity
concerns within and outside the penal estate, and a rising prison population
(which, in England and Wales, has grown by 30 % since 2001, peaking at 86,842
in September 2011), makes questions of prison design and the lived experience of
carceral space particularly pertinent. This is especially the case in the UK, where
prisoners are held in variable conditions within a system perceived to damage its
occupants and reinforce criminal identities and behaviours. Chronic overcrowding,
high rates of drug use, mental illness, self-harm and suicide, recidivism and its
associated financial and social costs, mar the UK system. Prison escapes, however,
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
have fallen dramatically, due in part to archite c ture, design and technology; prison
walls are higher, prison space is sequestered through zoning, and CCTV cameras
and other technologies proliferate.
3 Prison architecture, design and technology (ADT)
ADT is an overlooked aspect of the expansion of the carceral estate, not only
under-researched in the academy, but largely absent from policy de bate. Indeed,
in the UK, the President of the Prison Reform Trust, Lord Hurd, recalls that as
Home Secretary he was never asked to adjudicate on matters of prison design,
nor was the subject raised in official reports or by pressure groups. He rates ‘the
prison designs of much of the post-war period’ as ‘shoddy, expensive and just a
little inhuman’(Hurd 2000: xiii-xiv).
By contrast, prison designers in some other parts of Europe have not only
experimented w ith progressive and highly stylized forms of penal architecture,
but have also designed internal prison spaces that explore more open, flexible and
normalized spatial planning. Among the design features to be found in these new
prisons are: soft furnishings replacing hard fixtures and fittings, zoning different
parts of the prison through colour coding and use of psychologically e ffect ive
colour schemes, a ttention to the maximum exploitation of natural light and/or
artificial light that mimics daylight, access to outdoor spaces with trees, planting
and water features, the incorporation of differing levels, horizons and building
materials to ward off boredom and monotony, and displays of art and sculpture.
This kind of strategic application of architectural and a esthetic principle s to the
design of new prisons in, for example, Norway, Iceland and Denmark, has been
found to e ncourage personal and intellectual creat ivity. (Ha ncock & Jewkes 2011).
Yet, although new prison designs may appear to be either humane alternatives
to traditional penal architectures, or inappropriate indulgences to an anti-social
population, depending on one’s viewpoint, neither interpretation may be wholly
accurate (ibid.).
3.1 Internal environme nts
Internally, nineteenth century prisons are usually considered the least healthy
environments w ithin the UK penal estate and, at the time of w riting, there
are still 29 Vi ctorian jails in operation. But while these ‘houses of correction’
ensured inmates’ restricted economy of space, light and colour, imprisoning
psychologically as well as physically, it has yet to be established empirically whether
‘old’always means ‘bad’, while ‘contemporary’ necessarily means ‘progressive’
or ‘humanitarian’. Many nineteenth century prison interiors reveal the benign
intentions of Bentham’s panopticon. The visibility inherent in the radial design
of prisons such as Pentonville (1842) and Wandsworth (1851) (see Figures 1
and 2) was intended to promote safety and control.
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
Fig. 1 Interior view of HMP Wandsworth, London (1851)
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
Conversely, som e more recent institutions have inherited ‘Victorian’ problems,
including overcrowding and ‘doubling-up’ in cells no bigger than those intended
for single occupancy.
Fig. 2 Cell at HMP Wandsworth, London (1851)
For example, within a year of re-opening in 1983, t he ‘new’ Holloway
Prison (which had been co mpletely re built on its existing site due to the chronic
deterioration of its original buildings, constructed in the 1880s), was criticized by
the UK Prisons Inspectorate as engendering a form of torture that could result in
acute mental illness (Home Office 198 5). Levels of self-harm, suicide and distress
were high and vandalism, barricading of cells, floodings, arson and violence
against other prisoners and staff were common (Med licot t 2008). Among interior
layouts recently designed to manage problems like these is the campus-style
arrangement of discrete housin g units connected by outdoor space and flexible
planning and design. Such prisons have e xperienced different levels of success;
although prison architecture may reflect underlying penal philosophies, it must
be viewed in the context of lo ca l factors at any given time. For example, over the
last decade Feltham and Lancaster Farms Young Offenders Institutions have been
perceived differently on issues such as bullying, self-harm and su icide; the latter
seen as a ‘shining example of commitment and care’ (Leech 2005), while an
appalling reputation built by years of damning reports and a high-profile murde r
(Jewkes & Johnston 2007) clung to the former. That these ‘new generati on’
prisons have experienced such different outcomes suggests that prison ADT is a
potentially complex and contested area of scholarship deservi ng of much more
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
rigorous empirical e nquiry to address its prevailing conceptual and operational
3.2 External environments
Externally, prisons mobilize aesthetic and spatial values and practices to function
simultaneously as technologies of control and systems of cultural symbolism.
Although there is no ‘typical’ prison, the majority display exterior architectural
features that render them instantly recognizable as places of detent i on and
punishment. The mid-nineteenth ce ntury local prisons are archetypal; built to
resemble fortified c astles (e.g. HMP Leeds, 1847), or religious houses (typified
by the monastic facade of St rangeways, 1868) exterior facades were carefully
scripted to communicate the perils of offending and the retributive powe r of the
sovereign state (see Figure 3).
Fig. 3 Exterior view of HMP Wandsworth, London (1851)
The following century gradually saw a more utilitarian style; twentieth century
prison design like much public architecture rejected the decorative aesthetic.
The architectural appeal was less to notion of an arbitrary, untrammelled feudal
or ecclesiastical power, than to a modern, ‘rational’ centre of authority (Hancock
& Jewkes 2011). By the 1960s and 1970s, new prisons such as Gartree and Long
Lartin, comm unicating authority and efficiency, clearly echoed the austere, yet
(considered) humanely functiona l, styles of high, progressive modernism (ibid). At
the turn of the twentieth century prison architecture had been influenced by events
and processes of the early-mid-1990s, with security concerns demanding higher
walls, tighter perimeters and heightened surveillance. Although the evolution of
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
prison architecture has at various points been intended to c ommunicate a message
about t he nature of the imprisoning state and the legitimacy of its power to
imprison, the ‘audience’ for the various messages of this architecture has largely
been either the inmate who receives the punishment handed down by the state,
or society at large to whom imprisonment as punishment must be legitimated.
More recent UK penal architecture has been influenced by 1990s security
breaches, including prisoner rooftop prote sts at Strangeways in 1990 and escapes
from Whitemoor and Parkhurst prisons in 1994 which led to two government
inquiries. The subsequent re ports transformed prison security and eroded inmates’
quality of life in numerous, insidious ways, suggesting that the breaches were
viewed politically as a fortuitous cataly st for change (Liebling 2002; Drake 2012).
This nascent preoccupation with repressive structural and situat io nal security as a
means of controlling risk coincided with the prison service becoming an executive
agency in 1993, and a period of new managerialism, with performance measures
for prisons and a system of incentives and earned privileges awarded or withdrawn
according to prisoners’ behav iour and complicity. In addition, the early 1990s
introduction of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) ena bled awarding of c ontracts
for design, co nstruction, management and finance (DCMF) of penal institutions.
Over the last two decade s UK prisons have been built according to logics
of cost, efficiency and security. Most prison exteriors share a bland, unassuming
and uniform style with vast expanses of brick, few, small windows and no
unnecessary decoration. Internally, the imperative in spending the Ministry of
Justice’s approximate £300m annual capital budget is to deploy indestructible
materials to create custodial environments w i th no ligature points in which
prisoners cannot physically harm themselves or othe rs (RICS 2012). The role of
technology is anoth er critical aspect of the experience of prison spaces. A prison’s
physical layout and the obvious presence of cameras for monitoring-at-a-distance
contribute a sense of artificiality, generating a ‘fake’ environment in which prisoner
behaviour is strategic and self-pr ot ective and may become self-conscious or even
paranoid (Liebling et al, 2012, reporting on HMP Whitemoor).
With regard to exterior environment, prison design is also overlooked in the
existing research within both criminology and carceral geography on prison siting
and the relationship between prisons and local communities, which has tended
to focus on the traditional opposition of communities to the proximate location
of prisons. In this research, detailed below, local residents express concerns that a
prison would lower property values, increase levels of crime, endanger their safety
through e scape s, attract ‘undesirable’ element s and damage the reputation of the
area. Increasingly, however, there is an alternative perspective; the generation of
‘profit through punishment’. Recent work identifies a demand for the building of
prisons to stimulate local economic development and e m ployment, especially on
the part of small rural towns in the United States, with a shift towards policymakers
actively locating prisons in ‘lagging’ communities. For example, Cherry & Kun c e
(2001) found that in California, policymakers located ‘inferior’ public facilities in
less prosperous neighbourhoods, partly because there was less ‘NIMBY’ protest
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
than in prosperous areas, and, unable to attract private commerce, these areas
may be more willing to ‘accept’ opportunities ‘discarded’ by others. Focussing on
the US states of Idaho, Oregon and Montana, Bonds’ work questions whether
prisons really bring such economic prosperity (2009, 2013). These studies draw
attention to the lack of structural economic change in persistently poor rural
places, and to prison facilities’ inability to foster economy-wide change in terms
of serving as an economic development initiative. However, in focussing on
structural economic change associated wi th prison siting, this approach has
been unable to tackle questions about the response of local communities to the
aesthetic appearance of the prisons themselves, and the importance of prison
architecture in the ‘acceptance’ of prison siting close to existing communities. A
rare exception to this trend within the literature is the work of Sarah Armstrong
(2014), who finds in her study of prison siting in Scotland, that a loca l community
described a proposed prison as a ‘monstrosity of a building’, a ‘massive edifice’,
and a ‘monumental monstrosity lit up at night’. The prison’s design was seen
to be ‘out of keeping’ with the perceived nature of the surrounding area, and
it was argued that a ‘large, unambiguously manmade, permanently lit monolith’
would irrevocably change the character of the local area. There is more than a
suggestion here that the aesthetic appearance of prisons is of considerable, yet
under-explored, importance for local residents.
4 Researching the prison environment
In order to build on and extend previous work, and to explicitly address the
prison environment as a locus o f the carceral experience, we argue that carceral
geography should explore the in tentions b ehind the architecture, design and
technologies of spatial management and control that characterize the recent
penal estate, paying particular attention to external and internal spaces. The most
recent work in this field comes from th e United States, which like t he UK is a high-
imprisoning nation. Karen Morin’s work highlights the value of such an approach,
focussing on the US penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, which was retro-
fitted in 2008 to offer the country’s first federal Special Management Un it (SMU)
programme of its kind. Designed for the most intractably troublesome federal
inmates from around the count ry, the SMU features double-celling of inmat es in
tiny spaces, subject to 23-hour or 24-hour a day lockdown. These s patial tactics,
she suggests, and the philosophy of punishment underlying them, contrast starkly
with the m odern reform ideals upon which the prison was originally designed
and built in 1932. Morin (2013) argues that the SMU represents the ‘latest
punitive phase’ in American penology, one that neither simply eliminates, as in the
premodern spectacle, nor creates the docile, rehabilitated bodies of the modern
panopticon; rather, she argues that this particular retro-fitted prison design is
a ‘late-modern structure that produces only fear, terror, violence, and death’.
However, it is not just in the supermaximum security prisons in the United Stat es
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
that such descriptions are used to describe everyday life in confinement. One
‘lifer’ who spent 27 years in the American penal system, before taking his own
life, asserted that prison designers and managers have developed a ‘precise and
universal alphabet of fear’ (Hassine, 2010, 7), which creates an outwardly benign
illusion but is comparable to an ant farm in which t he visible order, regularity,
and routine fails to expose the ‘violence and crushing hopelessness the trapped
ants are actually forced to endure (ibid., 122). Such observations beg questions
about the de sign process which, as Wener (2012, 7) notes, is ‘the wedge that
forces the system to think through its approach and review, restate, or redevelop
its philosophy of criminal justice’. What are the processes which lead to the
conscious and intentional design of such carceral spac es, and to what extent do
prisoners experience in them what was intended in that design process ?
Our argument here is that research into the prison environment should deploy
a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that considers positive and negat ive impacts
of penal architecture, spatial design and technology and one which empirically
tests the value of new de si gn initiatives in prisons. ADT’s influence on the rela -
tionship between space, m eaning and power, and the ways in which architecture,
design and technology communicate the aims and techniques of penal autho-
rity, shape the lived experience of i mprisonment, and impact on the working
environment of prison staff are, we believe, all worthy of detailed investigation.
Furthermore, the views and experiences of other stakeholders, including prisoners’
families and visitors interacting with prison buildings, should be sought. Indices
of ‘healthy prisons’ and ‘quality of l i fe’, are commonly used within academic
and policy discourse, and studies have found that regimes which facilitate good
relationships between staff and prisoners, provide space and opportunity for a full
range of activities, and offer d ecent working and living conditions, ten d to be the
‘healthiest’ custodial facilities. However, future research must also address the
predominant considerations and penal philosophies underpinning the design of
the internal and external spaces of newly commissioned and newly built facilities,
and explore the impac t of the architecture, design, and technology of prisons on
the experience of imprisonment, on the behaviour of those who occupy and move
through carceral spaces, and on staff-prisoner and staff-management relationships.
In this context, it is also critical to understand not only the effective ness
of technology and its role in the spatial organization, security and order of
contemporary prisons, but also how prisoners manage existential issues of self
and identity and adapt socially under intense and inescapable duress. ‘Dynamic
security’ based on good relationships between prisoners and staff is no longer
possible (or even considered desirable) in many new-build prisons and, while
prisoners may value technologies inclu ding CCTV for their personal safety and for
its capacity to provide evidence o f bullying and assaults, it nonetheless reinforces
the absence of privacy and demands continuous self-censorship. Also significant
are the concerns of prison staff, for whom technology may give rise to similarly
conflicting emotions. Most workplaces now utilize surveillance and monitoring
technologies and, whatever legitimate justifications have accompanied them, th ey
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
have inevitably enabled employees to come under the scrutiny of their managers
(Townsend & Bennett, 2003; Ball, 2010). The no tion of trust, once regarded as
an essential element of the management staff relationship, has been und ermined
by surveillance systems introduced to ensure that ‘correct’ organizational pro-
cedures are followed. Additionally, like many other environments, prisons now
monitor everyone who operates in or moves t hrough them via an interface of
technology and corporeality, encouraging flexibility of movement while retaining
high (but discreet) levels of security. Among the technologies in use in prisons
are: cameras wirelessly transmitting digital im ages then screened for unusual
objects and atypical movem ents; biometric and electronic monitoring of prisoners
and visitors to allow tracking of bodies anywhere in the prison; listening devices
monitoring the spectral content of sound to spot illicit use of mobile phones
or early signs of aggressive be hav i our; and Blackberry-style devices for prison
officers that enable immediate reports to be relayed to Security ( OIS 2008).
Although in this paper we have focussed on the UK, these questions remain of
equal import i n other carceral contexts. Whereas Morin’s (2013) work suggests
that in the US we are seeing a move towards increasingly severe and restrictive
prison designs, in northwest Europe, technologies make humane, open-plan,
‘progressive prisons viable and facilitate a freer level of movement among
and betwe en inmates and staff. Even here, though, questions remain as to
whether these ‘humane’ prisons lead to some of t he problems of privacy, identity
management and presentation of self identified earlier. There is some evidence
that technology-assisted, decentralized, podular designs appr oximate ‘normality’
by providing safer and more comfortable living environments, and removing
security gates, bars and grilles, enabling prison officers to be more than ‘turn-
keys’ (Spens 1994). But there has been scant official or scholarly discussion
of other potential uses of technology, such as the identification of abuse or
aggressive behaviour by prison officers (either to prisoners or their colleagues),
the surveillance of staff smuggling contraband into the prison, or behaving in
ways disapproved of by prison authorities. Similarly, there is little debate abou t
the m oral and ethical implications of near-constant surveillance of prisoners and
officers, or the difficulties in establishing t rust when basic standards of privacy are
compromised. The use of techno lo gie s could exacerbate complex horizontal and
vertical relationships between prison inmates, officers, managers and ministers.
Everyone who moves within and through these ‘hyper-organizational spaces’
(Zhang et al. , 2008) is not only enmeshed in a surveillance assemblage that
forces them to manage their own presentation of self wit hin the regulative
framework of the institution, but is further encouraged to watch while knowingly
being watched. Although lack of privacy has long been recognized as a ‘pain of
imprisonment’ for inmates, for prison staff the new panopticism is a novel form
of control (Bauman 1989; Hancock & Jewkes 2011).
Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes ANNALES DE GÉOGRAPHIE, N° 702-703
Recent work synthesizing criminological perspectives w i th organization theory
has argued that sensorially depriving qualities inherent in the architecture and
spatial organization of the prison interface with advances in discreet technology
to produce both compliant inmates and a passive, functional workforce (Han-
cock & Jewkes 2011). But whil e humane and safe internal environments are
unquestionably desirable for prisoners and prison staff, and factors such as natural
daylight, aesthetic stimuli and comfort are clear indice s of quality of life, this
work has also questioned assumptions that the kind of open, colourful, flexible
spaces found in some parts of northern Europe, are not always as ‘liberating’ as
they may superficially appear to be (see Figure 4).
Fig. 4 Interior view at Hal den Fengsel, Norway (2010)
It has also suggested that design can have unintended outcomes or perverse
consequences. Of course, a rchitects are increasingly constrained by highly restric-
tive briefs and their role ends when the contract is completed and a facility is
handed over to prison managers, staff and prisoners. But even good intentions in
architecture, design and technology can, it has been suggested, lead to a subtle
intensification of power and control, perfectly suited to creating docility and
compliance (ibid) .
For carceral geography, too, the liv ed experience of carceral spaces has, in
one way or another, become a central tenet of recent research and geographers
Articles Linking the carceral and the pun itive state
have made a valuable contribution to understandings of how, even within the
most restrictive condit i ons of confinement, prisoners’ employ effective spatial
tactics within surveilled space, create individual an d collective means of resistance
to carceral regimes, and succeed in appropriating and personalising carceral
spaces. While this growing body of work has illuminated some of the darkest
carceral spaces, the vast majority of research to date has tended to focus solely on
inmate responses to, and adaptations of, the physical spaces o f incarceration. This
‘bottom-up’ approach i s important and understandable, but the ways in which
punitive philosophies are manifest in prison commissioning and construction
currently remain relatively unknown. The challenge for carceral geographers
and other scholars interested in prisons and imprisonment, then, is to start to
address why those spaces are as they are, and interrogate the intentions behind
the design of those spaces. In this paper we suggest that these matters are worthy
of urgent attention, and that pursuing them could enable us not only to better
understand the experience of incarceration, bu t also to open the design process
itself to scrutiny and re flection. Wener (2012, 7) argues that prison en vironments
represent bot h an ‘overt’ agenda that provides measurable quantities of space
for accommodation, training, therapy, education and so on, but also a ‘covert’
agenda t hat reflects what or who inmates are’ in the minds of planners, designers,
and those who commission them to design and build prisons. By opening a space
for the articulation of this ‘covert’ agenda, this exploratory paper suggests that
carceral geography, in dialogue with criminology and prison sociology, could
contribute positively to the ongoing debat e over the expansion of the penal
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... These facilities were redesigned to attend to the needs of specific populations and, through the findings of this study, show promise for rethinking how facilities are designed to deal with vulnerable populations such as youth or the medically unwell. Although this study sought to explore the facility-level factors that influence injuries, such findings are well situated in research related to the relationship between correctional architecture and design on the experience of occupants ( Jewkes, 2015;Moran & Jewkes, 2015;Morris & Worrall, 2014;Wener, 2012). ...
Research studies on injuries within the jail setting are few and far between. Perhaps the assumption that violent offending and violent victimization precede injury explains the limited attention. We suggest that there is a need for more empirical investigations that distinctly focus on jail-based injury. Using monthly correctional health metrics for New York City jail facilities between January 2017 and June 2019, we performed negative binomial regression modeling to explore the facility-level predictors of injury evaluation reports (IERs). Findings showed that youth-centric jails reduced the likelihood of IERs by 89% and health care-centric jails reduced the likelihood of IERs by 91%. Findings support the use of specialized facilities to mitigate injuries in jail. However, further examinations into the underlying mechanisms of specialized facilities that reduce injury are still required to meet the immediate needs of people who are incarcerated in jails.
... B. Johnston, , 2000H. Johnston, 2016) and more recently (Fairweather & McConville, 2000;Hancock & Jewkes, 2011;Jewkes et al., 2019;Jewkes & Moran, 2014Moran et al., , 2019Moran & Jewkes, 2015;Wener, 2012). Much of this literature focuses on prisons as they are or were built-what they are or were intended to achieve, the processes that enable(d) their construction, the ways in which they express(ed) the punitive philosophies of their age, and crucially, their operation in the era of their construction. ...
Prior scholarship tracing the origins and architecture of prisons has tended to focus on how and why prisons are built—what they are intended to achieve and their construction as an expression of the punitive philosophies of their age. It does not consider how prisons persist as time passes, perhaps beyond their anticipated operational life span, and into “obsolescence.” Focusing on the archetypal Victorian prison, and considering the alteration and inhabitation of such prisons through time, this article critically reinterprets notions of obsolescence in the built environment and explores an enduring cultural attachment to a particular and arguably archaic material manifestation of punishment.
... Although prison architecture and design as a distinct field has been historically "underresearched in the academy…largely absent from policy debate," and poorly theorized (Moran and Jewkes, 2015: 170), carceral geographies has been a quickly growing subdiscipline in geography (Gill et al., 2018;Loyd et al., 2013;Martin and Mitchelson, 2009;Moran, 2015;Morin, 2013Morin, , 2016Turner, 2013). In recent years, the prison architecture and design, carceral geographies, and critical criminology fields have increasingly overlapped, focusing on the spatiality of prisons and how carceral arrangements have punitive results and reflect penal philosophies (Hancock and Jewkes, 2011;Jewkes, 2018;Jewkes and Johnston, 2007;Jewkes and Moran, 2017;Moran et al., 2016aMoran et al., , 2016bMoran and Jewkes, 2015;Turner and Knight, 2020). Recent intersectional work has covered relationships between physical environments and carceral spaces, focused on several areas and international contexts. ...
Despite overall societal progress in reducing adverse impacts of heat and cold, incarcerated populations remain highly vulnerable to environmental stressors. Incarcerated populations experience a combination of risk factors related to their physical health and well-being that increase their thermal vulnerability: social isolation, disproportionate mental health issues, comorbidities, limited mobility, and a reliance on external factors to provide a safe, healthy environment. In carceral spaces, thermal exposure agitates these already complex situations, shaping a confluence of various economic, political, and ecological intersectionalities. This synthesis contextualizes the ongoing scholarship on climate change, thermal exposure, the built environment, and public policy, to examine thermal inequities experienced by incarcerated populations. In examining this context, we connect our work to carceral geographies, the geographies of violence, racial capitalism, and abolition ecologies. Ultimately, the review highlights how physical geographers may directly converse with critical geographers, promote equity and environmental justice, and work to reduce adverse impacts of extreme temperature events.
... Programs such as these provide opportunities for people in prison to explore and develop their talents, skills, and interests (Burnett and Maruna 2006;Saloojee 2005), while also exerting agency over the development of their own narratives and reducing experiences of social exclusion tied closely to mental illness (Farrall 2014;Kay and Monaghan 2019;Maruna 2011;Walsh 2007). Community connectedness created through comedy as storytelling can counteract feelings of marginalization, helplessness, and meaninglessness for people in prison (Eades 2019; Moran and Jewkes 2015;Walsh 2007). The attention "given to those incarcerated by the outside world is [one method to] give them hope" (Hakimian 2010, 59); therefore, comedy programs that provide opportunities for people in prison to engage as either audience members and/or comedians becomes a practice of wellbeing towards mental health. ...
Stand-up comedians provide insight into human positionalities, offer poignant social critiques, and can bring sensitive and uncomfortable subjects to the forefront of public discourse, including discussions around mental illness. Historically, however, the industry has relied on the stigmatization and marginalization of Others. Jokes about criminality, arrests, and incarceration are widespread across stand-up and other entertainment mediums, though often narrowly focused on individual behavior; these jokes fail to account for the known correlates of crime, which include economic vulnerability, un- and under-employment, and mental illness. More often than not, this humour fails to account for underlying socio-political, historical, and structural forces linked to carceral inequities, such as heteropatriarchy, Eurocentrism, and the historic and ongoing impacts of colonialism, dispossession, and slavery on health, social and criminal justice inequities, including mental health. In this context, comedians with lived experience of incarceration offer unique perspectives into the prison industrial complex and the impacts of incarceration on mental health and wellbeing. In this paper, we explore the work of comedians with lived experience of incarceration, highlighting the ways that comedy provides opportunities to confront pervasive stereotypes around incarceration and mental illness, while industry norms continue to sustain stigma, homophobia, and neoliberalism, and obscure systemic forces linked to carceral inequities.
... P rison design can have a significant impact on amplifying or mitigating the hardships of imprisonment. Recent qualitative and ethnographic research has brought us closer to understanding the importance of sociophysical environments within prisons (Wener 2012;Moran and Jewkes 2015;Moran 2019;Moran and Turner 2019), in particular the crucial role played by nature contact. In this article we therefore test whether prior findings of a connection between greenspace and well-being in a small number of prison establishments using mainly qualitative methodologies (e.g., Moran 2019) can be replicated at a larger scale and to a robust degree of statistical significance. ...
This article presents crucial new evidence that prisons with a higher proportion of the area within their perimeter given over to natural vegetation exhibit lower levels of self-harm and violence (both between prisoners and toward staff). Extending prior qualitative prison-level studies that find that nature contact influences prisoners’ self-reported well-being, it uses geographic information systems mapping to generate a new prison greenspace data set, capturing—for a cross section of prisons in England and Wales—the percentage of greenspace within their perimeters. Econometric estimations confirm that greenspace fosters prisoner well-being, in that there are lower levels of self-harm and violence in prisons with more greenspace. These relationships are statistically robust, and they persist when we control for prison size, type, age, and level of crowding. These findings are noteworthy in that they both extend understandings of well-being in custodial environments and have the potential to significantly influence future prison design. The article also provides important new insights demonstrating links between greenspace and well-being that have significance beyond the specifics of carceral environments.
... The new CCRs do have some additional security features -such as guard towers, electric fences, and more elaborate entrance procedures -but they prioritise, in discourse and in design, the 'rehabilitative' elements of their design. This relies explicitly on the notion that it is important to mitigate the 'pains' of imprisonment related to sanitation, noise, and crowdedness, as tracked by scholars of prison architecture (Moran & Jewkes, 2015). Dominican officials and prisoners contrasted the spaciousness of CCRs to US prisons, which they almost always described as 'harsh' or 'cold'. ...
... Without regard to moral responsibility, the social reaction should be limited to precautionary measures without conventional sanctions. Thus, the implementation of precautionary measures representing criminal punishment must aim at addressing the factors that led to the crime, whether linked to the offender or other external factors [ 2 ] . So, American Prisons is a unique institution with a history of almost 200 years of inhumanity, followed by good attempts at reform but short-term[ 3 ]. ...
This paper theorizes that a process of identity transformation occurs when individuals enter prisons, whereby individuals become prisoners. I investigate how this identity transformation occurs through interaction with the prison’s architectural design. Prisons are posited as locations of purposeful spatial organization whose design evokes particular performances from those within and outside, and which actively contributes to the creation of the prisoner identity. This investigation reveals a carceral power at work which renders prisons sites of articulated and detailed control that exist within a broader set of institutional practices and relations of power aimed at the transformation of individuals. This discussion critically engages with the broader purpose of the prison: while prisons are meant to rehabilitate and reform prisoners, the structured architecture of the prison conflicts with this objective.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore stakeholder' perspectives of control within general correctional and solitary confinement environments with findings focused on trust, sound, views to nature, routine, and time. Research was conducted at two medium security prisons in a large US state with male inmates. Using a survey methodology, interviews occurred with 10 inmates, 10 correctional officers, two superintendents, one staff psychologist, one nurse, and two correctional design architects. Observations and photography followed while visiting and leaving the prisons. Using grounded theory as a data analysis tool identified the themes of trust, views to nature, sound, time, and routine viewed through the overarching premise of control. Incongruence between rehabilitation and punitive environmental goals were found. Correctional officers who emphasized fear and trust valued visual surveillance despite its ability to lead to austere indoor and outdoor spaces. Inmates craved outdoor views along with personal possessions as these items established a more meaningful passage of time. Sound, as noted by the correctional architects, was not designed as a rehabilitative tool, but instead was used to denote impending attacks. And routine, so valued by inmates, was often taken away as a form of control. Implications suggest that the US prisons observed in this study exemplified control, dominance, and punishment. Future prison design should embrace the rehabilitative and healing strategies used in European models to help lower rates of recidivism which are problematic in the American prison system.
This paper reviews the planning process for a Scottish prison located near a former mining village. Analysing the letters of objection submitted by residents offers an opportunity to explore local views about prison and community and to relate these to the unique social and spatial history of the area. The planning process itself structured how residents were able to express themselves and defined what counted as a relevant objection. After deconstructing this process, the paper then restores and uses as a framework for analysis three geographies of objection stripped from local responses to the development proposal: The emotional, temporal, and spatial. Emotional expressions of objection added intensity and gave meaning to claims about the historical decline of the region and also conveyed a deep sense of the proposed building site as a lived space. Particular grounds of opposition—over fear of strangers, the fragility of a local orchid, and the pollution from mining—provide an opportunity to explore the complex nature of place meaning and community identity, ultimately leading to a conclusion that the meaning of place is always in flux. The paper argues that Simmel's classic concept of the stranger, as the outsider who comes to stay, offers a useful analytic in understanding how the quality of proximal remoteness that prisons and other unwanted developments constitute participates in a constantly evolving sense of the local.
Prison as a place is a relatively unknown living space, except for people having been jailed. This article explores the way in which inmates engaged in set relations create territories in order to 'live free' there. This research is based on indepth interviews carried out with people having been imprisoned at the Centre de det́ention de Québec. Our assumption is that, in prison just like anywhere else, a constant territorial building-process is always under way and can be demonstrated. It appears to us that in jail the use of space results in a territorial compromise.
While the use of imprisonment continues to rise in developed nations, we have little sociological knowledge of the prison's inner world. Based on extensive fieldwork in a medium-security prison in the UK, HMP Wellingborough, this book provides an in-depth analysis of the prison's social anatomy. It explains how power is exercised by the institution, individualizing the prisoner community and demanding particular forms of compliance and engagement. Drawing on prisoners' life stories, it shows how different prisoners experience and respond to the new range of penal practices and frustrations. It then explains how the prisoner society - its norms, hierarchy, and social relationships - is shaped both by these conditions of confinement and by the different backgrounds, values, and identities that prisoners bring into the prison environment.