Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Reinventing the Prison Yard: Creating Healthier Prisons Through Landscape Architecture and Sociology

Class

Article

College

College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Faculty Mentor

Stephen VanGeem

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Many Americans have seen pictures of so-called ‘luxury’ prisons in places like Norway and Finland, and for those who have grown up knowing the harsh American prison system, the Scandinavian prisons seem to be almost rewarding criminals. However, in some areas in the United States rehabilitative prison systems are gaining popularity over a purely incapacitative system, and American researchers have turned to the Scandinavian experiments with increased interest to see what we can learn and apply from them. While this has led to interesting research in sociological, criminological, and even architectural fields, the role of landscape architecture in prisons has been mostly overlooked. The field of landscape architecture is not limited to enhancing the physical beauty of exterior spaces, but also deals with planning the design, distribution, and use of exterior spaces to help people. Intentional landscape architecture informed by sociological theory has the potential to reduce future rates of recidivism by improving the mental and physical well-being of prison inmates. Little research has been done specifically on the effect that well-designed landscapes and associated programming have on people going through criminal rehabilitation. However, many papers on subjects such as how interaction with nature and designed spaces affects people, how inmates interact with their prison environment, and what sorts of influences make for healthy prisons with success in reducing recidivism. I will synthesize primary research from these different fields of academic inquiry to make a case that good landscape architecture and associated programming have a place in modern rehabilitative prison design. This will provide a jumping-off point for future penological research combining the disciplines of sociology and landscape architecture.

Location

Room 204

Start Date

4-12-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

4-12-2018 2:45 PM

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Apr 12th, 1:30 PM Apr 12th, 2:45 PM

Reinventing the Prison Yard: Creating Healthier Prisons Through Landscape Architecture and Sociology

Room 204

Many Americans have seen pictures of so-called ‘luxury’ prisons in places like Norway and Finland, and for those who have grown up knowing the harsh American prison system, the Scandinavian prisons seem to be almost rewarding criminals. However, in some areas in the United States rehabilitative prison systems are gaining popularity over a purely incapacitative system, and American researchers have turned to the Scandinavian experiments with increased interest to see what we can learn and apply from them. While this has led to interesting research in sociological, criminological, and even architectural fields, the role of landscape architecture in prisons has been mostly overlooked. The field of landscape architecture is not limited to enhancing the physical beauty of exterior spaces, but also deals with planning the design, distribution, and use of exterior spaces to help people. Intentional landscape architecture informed by sociological theory has the potential to reduce future rates of recidivism by improving the mental and physical well-being of prison inmates. Little research has been done specifically on the effect that well-designed landscapes and associated programming have on people going through criminal rehabilitation. However, many papers on subjects such as how interaction with nature and designed spaces affects people, how inmates interact with their prison environment, and what sorts of influences make for healthy prisons with success in reducing recidivism. I will synthesize primary research from these different fields of academic inquiry to make a case that good landscape architecture and associated programming have a place in modern rehabilitative prison design. This will provide a jumping-off point for future penological research combining the disciplines of sociology and landscape architecture.