Why prison design is important

My key points for the importance of prison design are based around the fact that we have an outrageously high reoffending rate (75%+) and through studies people have shown that this can be much, much lower.


  • If Prisons and more importantly Prison Systems are well designed and well managed it can significantly reduce reoffending
  • The public will not accept Prisons that are not Prisons in a traditional sense and for that reason politicians will not propose such designs to the UK voter base; we need to design prisons that are Prisons in a traditional sense on the face of things while being very progressive in every other way; this is a constraint of our times which may change over the coming decades
  • The design of the physical architecture and super structure needs to be designed in conjunction with all the systems that operate within; structure and physical design changes coupled with system changes can cause large knock-on effects that alter core design and management constraints

The problem

The UK prison system has wide ranging problems that are very difficult to address within the existing system.

The long-term poor management of the prison system from the ‘top down’ means that there has been little structured improvement over the past twenty years and certainly no improvement with real vision. There has been poor spread of best-practice and prisons operating independent to each other and politicians who are either too lazy or too afraid to bring change to a sector where strong unions and a change-resistive civil service can make significant change very difficult to effect.

With a 75%+ reoffending rate, prisons are clearly not effective enough and this in turn causes society significant problems and costs an estimated £11bn each year through the cost of reoffending. The UK prison population has been growing steadily, and as the rate of reoffence is a key driver of an increased accumulation of prisoners it is clear that something can be done better.

Rising prison populations puts stress on all parts of a system that has its budgets frequently reduced which, in turn, creates a more disaffected and lower paid work force. Prison overcrowding forces Continue reading “Why prison design is important”