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.
- Carceral geography
- Carceral spaces
- Prison architecture and design
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes