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  • Nate Murphy 10:37 am on January 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Education in prison proven to reduce re offending… 

    The BBC reports today that “Studying a wide range of educational courses in jail makes prisoners in England and Wales significantly less likely to reoffend, research suggests.

    A sample of 3,000 prisoners with access to study showed 19% had reoffended within a year of release, compared with 26% of 3,000 similar inmates without.”

    This should not really come as a surprise to anyone who has done any work in prisons!

    • thistudent 3:11 pm on January 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I must admit that I still find it amazing that there is continuous research in the area of prison education, often finding the same results as previous research, and yet nothing is done with the results to make a positive change.

      • Website Admin 3:29 pm on January 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        There are organisations working on it – however I feel they may not be looking at it with a strong view of use of technology and the scalabilty of systems.

  • Nate Murphy 11:45 am on April 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , liberty system, lobbying,   

    A step in the right direction; earned prison liberties in the UK 

    The changes outlined are based around the management of liberties which involve a rosta of liberties prisoners will need to earn from wearing their own clothes to in-cell television. These ideas generally work toward normalisation where, mirroring the outside world, if you generally behave and work you get access to a better position in life.

    Chris Greyling, Justice Minister

    The changes are very similar to concepts and ideas we presented to the now-Government, particularly in 2009-2011, which were centered around the management of liberties and the potential for changes within prison and or prison system’s design to enable it. (Our original concepts outlined here). It is nice to think that we may have influenced the thinking of the current Government during our lobbying process!

    It is clear that a process of this kind within prisons can be the start of a long-term move to a joined up prison system, where prisoners can gain liberties through education, time keeping, building links with employers and continue these programs when out on remand or otherwise.

    I hope this move is the start of a true shift of the UK prison system towards proactive rehabilitation; where we see a real reduction in recidivism and we can benefit in a reduction in crime throughout the UK.

    It will be interesting to see how well the new Liberty System is managed, how effectively it interconnects education and the measuring of behavior, how robust it is against favoritism and corruption and how well it is received by prisoners and prison staff.

    (More …)

    • Lynn Rawson 6:23 am on June 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Do you have any security arrangements in place to restrict access to architectural and engineering drawings for new prisons under constuction or for on-going maintenance of prison buildings?
      How realistic is it to expect that these drawings could be used by prisoners or parties outside the prison which could result in one or more prisoners escaping?

      • nathanjmurphy 8:43 am on June 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Personally no; this will probably depend on jurisdictional requirements and agreements with architectural and engineering companies involved.

        No prison will be 100% secure, and if one was to arrange a jail break then you can expect prison drawings to be useful, however they key weakness in any prison system is usually human or system based – rather than structural.

        • stephon 11:11 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink

          i agree that no prison is full proof, but those plans are very important. but this will all hinge on just who you are dealing with, and how capable they are of using this against you. but what would i know I AM ONLY 16, the smallest detail, can make the biggest difference.

  • Nate Murphy 11:17 am on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: architecture, conferences, ,   

    October’s Prison Architecture & Design conferences 

    There are two conferences coming up this month which might be worth checking out, or obtaining materials from, if you are not already..

    AIAS logo

    AAJ Fall Conference, 10th – 12th of October 2012, Toronto, Canada

    The Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) is hosting it’s 2012 Fall Conference October 10-12, 2012 at the Toronto Hilton Hotel in Toronto, Canada. The three-day conference is open to AIA and non-AIA members, all of those active in justice facilities including planners, architects, owners, public safety officials, officers and administrators, contractors and vendors.

    Join architects from across the country to learn, share and discuss relevant topics in the field of justice facility architecture. AAJ is committed to embracing the spirit of developing a dialogue within our communities.

    Highlights of the conference include opening plenary speaker George Baird, Intl. Assoc. AIA. Long recognized for his association with the University of Toronto’s architecture school, Baird also is one of Canada’s most celebrated practicing architects. Baird is also the recipient of the 2012 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education.

    View AAJ website >



    ICPA 14th annual conference Mexico City, 28 October – 2 November 2012

    ICPA and the Mexican Federal Prison System look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful, city of México. Attendees of the ICPA 14th Annual Conference will find their way to the heart of this progressive and exciting city.

    The event will focus around the challenges and experiences that the current international context presents to prisons and correctionals around the world. Securing custody and reinsertion of offenders to society under new schemes of penitentiary management will provide a reflective space to exchange ideas towards meeting society’s needs and its safety.

    View ICPA website >


    Thanks to Helena Pombares for the heads-up!

  • Nate Murphy 1:53 pm on July 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Peter Severin on the latest trends in Prison Design & Construction rehabilitation 

    In a session that will be discussed at the Prisons and Correctional Facilities Asia 2012 conference. Chief Executive, for the SA Corrective Services, in Australia speaks about the latest trends in prison design and construction to improve rehabilitation for Australia

    Could you please outline the latest trends in prison design and construction that can improve rehabilitation in Australia?

    Peter Severin:  Australia has in all our states and territories that are engaged in quite significant prison construction programs and actually, the designs tend to improve from one another, meaning that every new design learns from what others have done in the past.  You can categorize in general terms the design styles into three categories within prison environment; one being a high-security environment and medium security environment and the low security environment, and within those different security rate and construction types, the difference of construction is both building fabric but most importantly, the access that prisoners have to activities and other things that are offered to them in prison without supervision.

    So in a high-security environment, you have a very high level of supervision and control and so prisoner’s specific programs and work are very much strongly controlled, both by way of the way the units or the accommodation areas are configured and also the way the staff operate in the other end of the spectrum, in a low-security environment, you may have very small living units without direct staff supervision.  You have a very much self-determined regime where prisoners can even do their own cooking, where they learn together in smaller living units, ready for their release into the community.  So just to summarize that contemporary good practice prison design is one that provides for the high level of interaction between staff and prisoners, and that is what is called or referred to as dynamic security, but of course, within high security being more controlled, low security being very little control and medium security somewhere in the middle.

    What is important in a construction context is to achieve two objectives:  One is to have an efficient design which makes it easier for staff to supervise prisoners and another one, to have one that allows prisoners to access, both being set to make a difference in their lives like programs, work, education, and sports and recreation.  Ideally, from a master plan, if you design a new prison, you have all of those elements incorporated into your design plan, make sure it is staff sufficient, make sure the areas are located in such a way that they can easily be accessed from the cell blocks, the accommodation areas.

    When it comes to the latest developments in prison design and construction in Australia, what are some of the challenges to moving away from prisons and moving towards rehabilitation centers?

    Peter Severin:  The first challenge is that you really have to have a very robust assessment, so you need to assess prisoners before they are placed in accommodation areas so you know what the risks are, and of course, one of the biggest challenges in private prison system is the contraband that comes into a prison — the things that should not be there but they make their way into the prison such as drugs and other things you do not want to have there, that also of course is counterproductive to good rehabilitation.  So the answer to that is to have what we call a really strong access control.  There is a lot of technology in that.  We use x-ray machines, we use drug detection devices and we use metal detection etcetera, and it is not because we do not trust people who come into prison to visit, but because we want to make sure that we eliminate contrabands from coming in.  (More …)

    • Daniel C. Miller 3:10 pm on May 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting articles. Prison design is a great way to control how effectively the system will run.

    • Helena Pombares 7:45 pm on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hello Nathan, how are you?
      Just to thank you for the information about the Prison and Corretional Facilities Asia 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. I was one of the attendees and it was amazing. Did you receive any feedback about the conference? If you need any something maybe I can help, just let me know.

      • Nathan Murphy 7:55 pm on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Helena,
        I am good – sorry not been very active on here recently as have been super busy on other projects.
        If you have anything particular you would like to highlight/give thoughts on about the conference or otherwise do let me know and we could look at adding you as a guest writer.

    • Candace 2:02 am on August 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    • lamiaa 2:19 pm on September 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      hi mr.murphy..i’m an architect working in my graduate project which will be (prison )..and till now i have nothing about it ..i searched about what can help me in designing but nothing can found no standards and principls of design similar samples..really idonn’t know what to do ..and this is the the first time i descided to design such project like that..and i interested in (north branch correctional institute)but alsono info.about it..please if you can help me don’t hesitate..and this is my e-mail.

    • George 4:58 pm on December 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi all,
      Indeed very interesting articles on such an important issue. I did a study and proposal around prisons and rehabilitation during my master thesis. You can find more info about the project at

      • Nathan Murphy 11:16 pm on December 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi George – sounds interesting! If you wanted to write something about your project assuming it was suitable we would be happy to publish on here.

  • Nate Murphy 1:42 pm on April 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    An interview with Gaudencio Pangilinan on rehabilitation in prisons 

    Gaudencio Pangilinan, National Director for the Philippines Bureau of Corrections, highlight the difference between reformation, reformative and restorative justice and what stance does the Philippines taking with regards to both. He also talks about current trends in prison design and construction in the Philippines.






    Could you please highlight the difference between reformation, rehabilitation and restorative justice and what stance does the Philippines taking with regards to both?

    Gaudencio Pangilinan: You must be referring to Reformative Justice and Restorative Justice.  We all know that in the olden times, our elders mind frame was not as humanized compared to what it is today.  Remember how ICRC came about.  Punitive justice by international standards can be considered contrary to the edicts of the declaration of human rights.  We know that historically, neither punitive justice nor execution reduced crimes.  Other advocates believe that as more laws are passed with corresponding punishments, the chances of convicting the wrong persons also become higher.  Likewise, as the number of prisoners increase, it follows that by proportion those wrongly incarcerated.  We don’t have the exact statistics on how many convicted criminals eventually were acquitted after review.  Perhaps that will be a good research topic.  Someone has to determine the extent of imperfections in our justice systems.  The occurrence of crimes is a social issue and must be seen not purely from the legal perspective.

    I believe that as many as 90 per cent of those incarcerated while guilty were simply at the wrong time and place at the time of the crime.  Most crimes happened out of passion, bad temper, desperate needs, or even weak moral upbringing.  Consider too the environment where the convict grew up.  Less than 10 percent of our convicts can be considered career criminals.  The stigma of prison to majority of the public will not change overnight, but we can change the attitude of those who came from prison.  We can orient them to be more discerning in their actions.  We can strengthen their tolerance to the endless contradictions in society.

    We have all the tools to help insure that this fellow who would soon rejoin society as a free man is less likely to be in conflict with the law.  That I believe is the essence of Reformative Justice.  As I often mention in my lectures, safekeeping is only incidental to reformation.  The law may be too harsh in many forms, but it is still the law.  Society needs a benchmark in order to move forward.  Other advance societies have progressed to a (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 1:35 pm on April 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Malaysia aiming to improve Prison Design, Management and Security 

    As overcrowding in Asian prisons continues to remain a challenge for prison officials, the Prison Department of Malaysia is stepping up its efforts to address this issue by employing and implementing effective strategies.

    In conjunction with IQPC Worldwide, the Prison Department of Malaysia will be launching the 2nd Annual Prisons and Correctional Facilities Asia 2012 in Kuala Lumpur on 22nd and 23rd May 2012. The conference brings together international and regional prison commissioners, senior prison officials and key industry stakeholders to discuss the challenges and strategies to enhance prison design, management, operations and security for prisons and correctional facilities in Asia.

    Providing the keynote address at the conference is Datuk Wira Hj. Zulkifli, Commissioner General of the Prison Department of Malaysia—who will be touching on prison overcrowding and the effective strategies that his department has implemented. Datuk Wira will be joined by an impressive speaker panel—including the prison commissioners from Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, the Philippines and Malawi. (More …)

    • stephon 11:37 pm on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      here is a tip courtyard, and campus style setups help with the overcrowding issue.

  • Nate Murphy 10:50 am on March 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Interview with Purwo Ardoko on the IQPC’s annual conference on Prison Design 

    Purwo Ardoko, Chief Architect for the Cipinang Penitentiary in East Jakarta, which can house up to 256 inmates, convicted of graft and an attendee of the Prisons and Correctional Facilities Asia 2011 tells us what he gained from attending the conference. He also tells us how prisons are evolving and how this
    could help spur rehabilitation in the future. 

    Bryan Camoens: Could you please tell us what the difficulties in prisons and correctional facilities
    today are?

    Purwo Ardoko: coming from non-technical issues like budgeting and programming. (Authorization by the government which is very limited on preparing the
    budget, lands/location and time scheduling) Almost all of my work spent over the past 3 years has been to design and build those prison and correctional facilities.

    Also capacity prediction, (because no one can predict the result of the justice system as statistically the numbers of inmates is vital data for me). Lastly understanding and implementing precisely the prison and correctional facilities standard among stakeholders (owners and architects) according to standard
    minimum rules for the treatment of prisoner by UN Resolution is different measurement within different countries.

    Bryan Camoens: How did attending the Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia 2011 conference help you to overcome these issues?

    Purwo Ardoko: Of course the conference by IQPC held last year in Malaysia was very useful and beneficial for me and the team who attended, as you know we had 8 people attend as delegates. Two of which were engineers and the rest are prison and correctional officer that have no – or limited – knowledge
    and experience in the engineering background. So at the conference we learnt and saw how other  countries have similar issues and go about solve these problems. In design terms, it was as an observatory  phase for me.

    Bryan Camoens: From an architect’s perspective what led you to signing up for the Prisons &  Correctional Facilities Asia 2011 conference?

    Purwo Ardoko: From an architect’s perspective, we found some reference in prison and correctional  facilities design according those contradictory design in prison and correctional design. The health, convenience, comfort, accessibility, environment design, etc. – design category and standard in  architecture – versus security systems, space and access limitation, 24 hours building usage, etc. (reserve  for prevent escape, disciplines and others prison and correctional facility purpose), that’s in itself is very

    Bryan Camoens: In your opinion how are prisons evolving and how will the design of these facilities help spur rehabilitation of these individuals?

    Purwo Ardoko: Prisons are evolving and design will only help to spur rehabilitation of the inmate.  Although there is not much research with regard to the relationship between the building and users for the influences in their life (except in technical function). There is no guarantee for those individuals who came to prison and correctional facilities to spend their sentence in many variety years that will be rehabilitated and not to repeat to commit the crime again in any further yet in very good prison and correctional facilities. For those fact and history, many government have tried to change the idiom of prison to correctional which mean more humanized
    approach system than prison as Tools of Criminal Justice System, this is are evolvement.This means the individuals coming to prison are people who have a life balance problem and they should solve the problem in a certain time and place (sentence) by law not by them.

    Our job as an architect through design is to prepare facilities according their requirements (As we Live) only limited by the government. The difference of prison and correctional facilities and other facilities are (common): The
    fence (tall and tough), the doors (many and open just from outside), the details, the access, the neighbourhood, the limit of right (everything is limited, even the human right needs: seeing the sky, the stars, the air, etc.).

    Finally, according to those conditions, I, as an architect must have self confidence that the prison and correctional facility design should have a capability to spur rehabilitation with appropriate design as we live (providing proper prison and correctional facilities is not just providing the ideal prison and correctional facility design), then the spur of rehabilitation is no a longer purpose but balancing the inmate problem on limited facilities to make them as a subject, not an object, together we can (officer and inmate) solve the problem (reintegration program) as the Indonesian correctional system does (statisticallyrecidivism is 0.00001 % in the past 12 years) although we have overcapacity issues and a ratio of 1 officer by 100 inmate (normally 1:6).

    The 2nd annual Prisons and Correctional Facilities 2012 conference once again brings together senior international and regional Prison Commissioners, Director Generals and senior officials to discuss the latest trends, issues, challenges and strategies involving the construction, design, security and rehabilitation programmes within prisons and correctional facilities. Email to register for Prisons and Correctional Facilities Asia 2012.

  • Nate Murphy 3:49 pm on March 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Düsseldorf prison commissions artist Markus Linnenbrink to paint their visitors tunnel 

    Artist Markus Linnenbrink was recently commissioned to paint the visitors tunnel at the new Justiz Vollzugs Anstalt (Prison) in Düsseldorf, Germany. According to Linnenbrink the prison is a model institution and has been designed to deal with security and humanity as best as possible, thus the desire for a unique approach to a common entrance for family, lawyers and police.

    It is clear that before this work was done that this corridor was pretty drab and foreboding; it is good to see Prison’s embracing creativity and embedding it within prisons.

    Visitor access has to be underground by law in newly constructed prisons in Germany. This tunnel covers the 40m (about 132 feet) between the security check in the front building and the visitors area in one of the inner prison buildings. Concept for the installation was to create a 3 dimensional painting that follows and surrounds the visitor during the walk through the tunnel. Two sets of diagonal stripes that both grow wider while covering the distance build two different perspectives.

    Born in Germany, Linnenbrink now lives and works in Brooklyn. You can see many more of his paintings, sculptures and installations on his website

  • Nate Murphy 10:04 am on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Looking forward to the Prisons and Correctional Facilities Asia 2012 conference 

    Following the fantastically successful conference last year the annual Prisons and Correctional Facilities 2012 conference once again brings together senior international and regional Prison Commissioners, Director Generals and senior officials to discuss the latest trends, issues, challenges and strategies involving the construction, design, security and rehabilitation programmes within prisons and correctional facilities.

    The Prisons and Correctional Facilities Asia conference is the only dedicated conference for prison design, construction and security – and if you are in the region it is well worth attending – not only for the leanings that can be gained but the contacts and networking can prove invaluable.

    The event will address the following issues:

    • Overcrowding: What are the consequences of leaving it unresolved? What are some of the strategies and programmes used to overcome overcrowding? How have parole programmes been beneficial? How does innovative prison design solve these issues?
    • Rehabilitation Programmes: What are some of the latest rehabilitation programmes and strategies used by prisons these days? How effective are they? What are some of the successful implementation procedures?
    • Enhancing Prison Security: Latest developments and technologies used in the world’s most advanced prisons; How can security be enhanced in maximum security prisons? Complementing security technology with human training and expertise

    For details about the speakers at the event you can see a full list here;

    • Helena Pombares 11:18 pm on April 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Mr. Murphy,

      I would like to thank you for all the emails about prisons innovations and updates. In particular for the one about the prisons conference that is going to be held in Malaysia.
      I am looking forward to that. As an architect and masters’ degree student in prisons architecture, I’m sure this conference will be a huge source of knowledge.
      If you don’t mind, I would like to contact you one day to talk more about this subject that seems to me to be your passion, as it is for me. Hopefully we meet at the conference.

      Keep with your brillant work.

      Best regards,
      Helena Pombares

      • Nathan Murphy 1:55 pm on April 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Helena,

        Sure happy for you to contact me to talk about Prison Design.

        I will not be attending this conference I am afraid as I am away elsewhere.

        Warm regards,


        • lamiaa 2:18 pm on September 19, 2012 Permalink

          hi mr.murphy..i’m an architect working in my graduate project which will be (prison )..and till now i have nothing about it ..i searched about what can help me in designing but nothing can found no standards and principls of design similar samples..really idonn’t know what to do ..and this is the the first time i descided to design such project like that..and i interested in (north branch correctional institute)but alsono info.about it..please if you can help me don’t hesitate..and this is my e-mail.

  • Nate Murphy 9:40 am on February 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: security,   

    Best Features of Police Records Management Software 

    Software tools abound for law enforcement agencies looking to streamline their records management and create savings in annual budgets, but without the right tools, a software suite can’t deliver the functionality needed. The best features help you to prioritize and protect relevant information and make it simple to access. These advanced features should be part of any law enforcement software suite for managing and accessing public safety records.

    Enhanced Features for Law Enforcement Software

    Mobile Data Access: When officers can access records and relevant data in the field through an encrypted connection to your public safety system, you’ve given them a truly powerful law enforcement tool: information. The ability to access critical records, images, and dispatch data from the field helps officers safely and effectively serve their communities.

    Workflow Tracking: A public safety software system should allow your agency to track the history of records and reports from beginning to end. Your system should make it easy to set up approval procedures and requirements for a whole range of reports and documents, allowing you to customize their movement through your unique organizational structure.

    Document Flagging: Part of protecting the integrity of data is properly classifying documents. Information about juvenile records or ongoing investigations may need to be flagged differently from general information that can be distributed to the press and the public. Look for a police records management system that enables you to set administrative privileges to prevent unauthorized personnel from viewing sensitive material.

    Robust Reporting: The beauty of automated law enforcement software is the ability it gives users to collect and analyze data. The best programs will give you preformatted crime reports to analyze crime rates and patterns over time. Formatting documents and data for transmission to statewide and national databases eliminates hundreds of hours of work, potentially saving thousands of labor dollars in your annual budget.

    Centralized Data: Duplicate files are a significant problem for many databases, but duplicate police records can prevent law enforcement from accessing all available information about a specific file, case, or individual. If your software draws from a single centralized database that links related files together, it’s less likely that relevant information will be lost, overlooked, or deleted.

    Simple Imaging: Your public safety software system should allow you to create a searchable library of full-color image files. Choose software that enables you to easily capture and edit mug shots, accident photos, and crime scene images so they can be attached to the appropriate record. Your system should also allow you to attach multiple files to a single record.

    License Monitoring: A robust system can let you manage and monitor animal licenses, weapon permits, and more. You can then enter, sort and search for permits by name, expiration date, or city. A system should allow you to link license files to related records and easily track information about each permit, including expiration dates, fees, payments, and adjustments.

    Facilities Management: Correctional facilities require a lot of work to keep them running efficiently. From the command staff and booking procedures to housing, commissary and IT concerns, jail management systems should provide detailed analytics, important statistics, and comprehensive inmate histories to ensure that you can identify and reduce any disciplinary problems and share important information with other public safety officials.

    Paperless operations: Electronic evidence tracking allows public safety agencies to simplify and streamline their record keeping. An effective system should allow you to track the location and status of evidence items and link evidence records to other related records within the system. In addition, a public safety software system should enable you to link digital files such as sound recordings, videos, and images to records.

    About Lynze Lenio; Lynze Lenio works for Spillman Technologies and has been writing about public safety software for more than four years.

  • Nate Murphy 1:14 pm on December 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Digital tech; used to deliver faster and more effective justice 

    More victims and witnesses are benefiting from swift and effective court hearings and valuable police hours are being saved thanks to the expansion of virtual courts and live links technology.

    Justice Ministers Nick Herbert and Jonathan Djanogly witnessed first hand, the video-technology in action when they visited a police station in North Kent and a virtual court in Chester today.

    Virtual courts allow a defendant, charged in a police station, to have their first hearing held over secure video link from the magistrates’ court. This can happen within hours of being charged and if the defendant pleads guilty, the court can often sentence on the same day.

    The same equipment allows police witnesses to give evidence in court via the police station, an initiative known as ‘Live Links’, freeing up time to carry out frontline duties rather than travelling to and from court.

    Nick Herbert, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, said:

    ‘Live links are a key factor in making the criminal justice system in England and Wales more efficient – to enable justice agencies to work together to reduce waste and bureaucracy and provide a more integrated service.

    ‘Live links frees up valuable police time and resources to carry out their frontline duties and ensure crimes are dealt with more quickly and effectively. This is important not only for the local police force but for victims and witnesses.’

    Courts Minister Jonathan Djanogly said:

    ‘The expansion of virtual courts clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working with local police and the courts to ensure speedy and effective justice.

    ‘Not only do they enable the quick resolution of cases they also save time as defendants do not need to be transferred between prison and the court.’

    The virtual courts initiative began in May 2009 in London (Camberwell Green) and Kent (Medway) and is now being extended this month to other locations in these areas as well as to Cheshire and Hertfordshire. Live links, which is currently in use in Kent, London and Hertfordshire is quickly expanding to other police force areas with Cheshire being the next area to implement the initiative.

    The initiatives form part of a wider policy to digitalise, streamline and make the criminal justice system more efficient. By spring 2012, the entire criminal justice system is required to go digital, with secure electronic transfer of case files between the police, prosecutors and courts becoming the norm rather than the exception. In excess of 1400 people have appeared using the virtual court system in Kent. Live links was introduced in July and in the first 24 cases, more than 100 hours of police time have been saved.

  • Nate Murphy 1:13 pm on December 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Anonymised justice-system data is opened up 

    More than 1.2million anonymised court records have been published for the first time today in the latest stage of the Government’s ambitious plan to open up the justice system.

    The information, released on the Justice website, shows every sentence handed down at each court in the country between July 2010 and June 2011, along with the age and ethnicity of each offender. This will enable the public to see exactly what sentences are being handed down in their local courts and to compare different courts.

    The figures have been published alongside the quarterly Criminal Justice statistics, which give a comprehensive overview of the Criminal Justice System.

    Today’s publication is the latest in a series of moves to increase the justice system’s transparency.

    Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said:

    ‘Open justice is a long-standing and fundamental principle of our legal system. Justice must be done and must be seen to be done if it is to command public confidence.

    ‘Modern technology allows us to be more open. This Government has ambitious plans to increase transparency at every stage to allow everyone to see what is happening better and how the system works.’

    Earlier this month easy to use online maps were published on the new ‘Making Sense of Criminal Justice’ website, where people can view information about sentencing and reoffending in their area and compare it with national trends.

    Further moves planned to improve transparency include:

    • Allowing broadcasting from courts for the first time – in September the Government announced its intention to change legislation to enable broadcasting in specific circumstances, starting at the Court of Appeal.
    • Court-by-court statistics for the time taken for cases to be processed, from offence to conviction, allowing people to compare the performance of their local courts.
    • Details on how many trials were ineffective and why they were ineffective.
    • From next May providing justice outcomes and police actions on the national crime mapping website,, so that people can see what happens next after crimes are committed on their streets.
    • More information on the civil and family justice systems, including how long it takes each court to process small claims hearings, larger cases and care proceedings.
  • Nate Murphy 1:12 pm on December 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Offender scoops award for helping prison dads 

    An ex-prisoner who turned his life around has won a national award helping offenders behind bars record bedtime stories for their children.

    Chris Dredger scooped Talk Talk’s ‘Digital Heroes’ Award for working with charity Storybook Dads as an audio and video editor while serving time and has continued to work for them after his release.

    The 30-year-old, who is still on probation with Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust, beat 11 other finalists to win the award.

    He said: ‘I feel very proud to have represented our charity. I hope that my success might show other prisoners there can be a way out of the cycle of crime and imprisonment’.

    Sharon Berry, founder and Chief Executive of Storybook Dads, said:‘Chris has worked hard to promote our cause and having been a prisoner himself, he understands how it feels to be separated from your family’.

    Chris worked for charity Storybook Dads for two years whilst in Dartmoor Prison, where the charity is based.

    It helps imprisoned parents stay in touch with their children by sending CDs and DVDs of prisoners reading bedtime stories to their children, complete with sound effects and music.

    The scheme started as an office in an empty cell in Dartmoor Prison and has now expanded to 100 prisons nationwide. More here.

  • Nate Murphy 4:22 pm on August 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Aftermath of the UK riots & sentencing explained 

    The difficulty of adding extra offenders to an already over-crowded prison population is not ideal, they UK government seems keen to show that justice prevails and that the moments of control the rioters displayed over ‘the system’ is short lived and those who caused damage are punished. Although there are various options for sentencing severe sentences (for which imprisonment is a great head-line) has significant public support regardless of the expense and sustainability.

    The Ministry of Justice explains how our sentencing system works:

    Magistrates and judges are independent of Government. Their sentencing decisions are based on the individual circumstances of each case and offender. That is why different offenders may be given different sentences for what might appear to be similar crimes.

    To provide a consistent base for these decisions an independent body of experts, the Sentencing Council set guidelines for them to use. These provide a range of sentences that could be given for particular types of crime, including cases of theft, burglary or robbery .

    Questions answered:

    Do judges have to stick to sentencing guidelines?
    When sentencing offenders, courts must follow relevant sentencing guidelines unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. So, if a judge or magistrate believes a guideline sentence doesn’t allow the interests of justice to be served, he or she can sentence outside of the guideline. In these cases, the judge or magistrate must always state the reasons for this in their sentencing remarks in open court .

    What is the Sentencing Council?
    The independent Sentencing Council is made up of judges and criminal justice professionals who have worked with victims and offenders. They draw up guidelines, following public consultation, on sentence lengths for different types of crime, helping the judiciary to achieve a consistent approach.

    What is Government’s role?
    It is Parliament’s role to specify what is a criminal offence and set the maximum penalties.
    Some types of offending have been the same for centuries (for example murder) but others have changed, emerged or disappeared as new problems have surfaced, new technology has been developed and as society takes a more or less lenient view on certain actions.

  • Nate Murphy 9:31 am on May 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Chris Alker on the Architecture of Re-Socialization 

    Chris Alker

    Chris Alker

    For the past fifteen years, five while attending the University of Texas at Austin and ten years working in the building industry, I have been a student of architecture.

    Over these years my increasing frustration with the practice has led me to examine and re-examine the power of architecture.

    In doing so, the words of the American architect Louis Sullivan, “Form ever follows function”, never seem to be far from my mind. However, it is not the skyscraper, for which Sullivan is best known, that, for me, most embodies his credo. Rather it is two often overlooked architectural typologies, the castle and the prison. Both architectures, absent from Spiro Kostof’s staple university text,

    A History of Architecture, have most likely been glazed over due to their lack of importance in the development of architectural style, a common preoccupation regarding the history of our profession.

    The castle, built throughout the world for over 900 years, was the cornerstone of military architecture and evolved in parallel with advances in weaponry and warfare technology. The Roman architect Vitruvius, mostly cited for his contribution of “Firmness, commodity and delight”, was integral to this evolution with his writings on the layout and construction of these strongholds. Every formal characteristic of the architecture (the angular towers, timber reinforced curtain walls, buttressed battlements,etc.) was in perfect harmony with an offensive or defensive application. With the invention of gunpowder in the 14th century, and later the increasingly destructive power of artillery, the days of the castle eventually declined. Many were abandoned, or converted (or rather inverted), into prisons, as was the case with the French Alcatraz, Chateau d’if in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Today castles stand as monuments of history visited by curious tourists and serve as the inspiration for kitschy McMansion builders. The prison on the other hand continues to be built and affect many people’s lives on a daily basis. Since 2006, it is estimated that at least 9.25 million people are currently imprisoned worldwide, and over 25% of them are housed in the American prison system. Whether this statistic is a result of our laws or the environment in which they were raised is still up for debate, but it is the role that architecture plays that is of great interest to me.

    According to New York Times writer Jim Lewis, “It sounds odd to say, but it’s nonetheless true: we punish people with architecture. The building is the method. We put criminals in a locked room, inside a locked structure, and we leave them there for a specified period of time.”

    As I see it, the “function” of prison architecture is threefold. These facilities are in place to (1) contain convicted criminals in order to protect society from future harm, (2) punish these individuals for their actions, and (3) to adjust their behavior so that they may successfully return to society as (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 2:43 pm on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Can social media help prisoner reintegration? Yes, according to India’s Tihar Jail. 

    Delhi’s Tihar Jail recently announced a plan to leverage social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to improve public opinion of the prison and prisoners, and reintegrate prisoners back into society. This is the latest in a series of innovations sweeping Asia’s prisons, which will be showcased at the ICPA endorsed Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia Conference in Kuala Lumpur.

    Tihar Jail - Delhi, India

    Tihar Jail’s move marks one in a series of innovations sweeping Asia’s prisons to address rapidly growing inmate populations, increasingly obsolete prison infrastructure and poor public opinion. A review of the latest innovations will be presented at the upcoming Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia conference, where top government stakeholders from across Asia will be meeting with the prisons’ industry’s top executives.

    Government officials from India, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Fiji, Sri Lanka and many others will be discussing the top three challenges facing Asia’s prisons – rehabilitation, modernisation, and security concerns in a series of high-level dialogue sessions that will see 15 Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners sharing case studies on managing their respective countries’ prisons at the 24-25 May conference.

    The private sector’s leading prison design experts, including Frazer Bufton, Director of Architecture at HLN ARCHITECTS will also be weighing in on the impact of design on the rehabilitation needs of inmates. Two technical workshops covering modernisation of prison facilities and design challenges, and a site tour to one of Kuala Lumpur’s biggest prison facilities have also been included in the comprehensive agenda.

    This is the first time an industry-government meet is being held in Kuala Lumpur and the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) is the latest in a series of global organisations to support and attend the event. The event will be attended and closely watched by heads and project leads of prisons, detention and correctional facilities, as well as security and construction consultants from Asia and around the world.

    Visit to find out more.

  • Nate Murphy 2:38 pm on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Event Alert – Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia 

    Strategies for the Planning, Design and Security of Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia

    Because of a rising inmate population in Asia, with existing obsolete prison security infrastructure, and an increasing need for better design and planning of prison facilities for rehabilitation programs, there is a growing concern to ensure the future growth and safety of our prisons and correctional facilities. Failure to address these needs would compromise the safety and effective functioning of these facilities.

    The conference is being held on the 24th & 25th of May 2011, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – you can find out more by visiting;

    Government IQ Asia is putting together the very first Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia event to bring together the Heads, Commissioners and Director Generals of Prison HQs and Ministries of Justice to talk about the future roadmap and modernisation efforts of Asian governments.

    Prisons & Correctional Facilities Asia will feature a regional and international line up of experts, including:

    • Jamaluddin Bin Saad, Deputy Commissioner General of Prisons, MALAYSIAN PRISONS DEPARTMENT HQ
    • RN Sharma, Deputy Inspector General, Prisons, PRISON HQ, INDIA
    • Nishan Chandrajith Dhanasinghe, Commissioner of Prisons, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, SRI LANKA
    • Untung Sugiyono, Director General of Corrections, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, INDONESIA
    • General Ernesto El Diokno, Director, BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS, PHILIPPINES
    • Hiroshi Nishida, Director of General Affairs, Corrections Bureau, MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, JAPAN

    Email or log on to for the full agenda of the conference.

  • Nate Murphy 6:31 pm on December 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Stuart Mitson is a former Prison Governor and Prison… 

    Stuart Mitson PortraitStuart Mitson is a former Prison Governor and Prison Director with more than 25 years operational experience in both the public and private sector. He currently leads a uniquely qualified and experienced team at Mitson Consulting Ltd offering consultancy on the design, construction and operation of new prisons.

    In this article Stuart discusses The Carpenter’s House Prison Project which shows an innovative community-needs approach to prison development and an understanding that offending is a local problem and therefore best dealt with a local solution.

    It stands to reason that local people will be less aggressive against the development of new prisons in their local area if they are going to detain local people who offend. Compared with the prospect of many thousands of prisoners being shipped in from all over the country in to their back-yard such a sensible approach to dealing with offenders can make a lot of sense, not only for the benefits it can bring to reducing reoffending, but also with getting wider stakeholder buy-in.


    Two years ago, a faith-based organisation in Cornwall, known as The Carpenter’s House, began researching a better way to ‘do prison’ – with the primary objective of establishing a prison in Cornwall to house Cornish prisoners and better serve the local community by addressing the rehabilitative needs of offenders to reduce re-offending.  In the interests of the wider community, the initiative also aims to reduce the cost of imprisonment.  This ambitious project was conceived after Conservative Local Councillor, Mike Critchley, Lt. Cdr. RN Rtd., attended the ‘Believing in Local Action’ seminar addressed by the Cabinet Office.

    Cornwall is a remote corner of the UK and probably the only English county without a prison.  This means that offenders resident in the county who receive a custodial sentence must serve that sentence some distance from home.  In the case of women, young offenders and high security prisoners the distance may be very considerable indeed.  This is not only detrimental specifically to maintaining important family ties but has serious implications for the whole process of resettlement and rehabilitation.

    Figures provided by the National Offender Management Service indicate there are approximately 350 serving prisoners whose home address is in Cornwall.  Less than 80 of these would require any special sort of prison facility outside the county if the county had a single medium-to-low security custodial facility.


    The group also entered into an alliance with Kainos Community, a registered charity that delivers a remarkable Prison Service accredited resettlement and rehabilitation programme in three UK prisons. Over a period of 13 years, the programme has consistently reduced reoffending from 65% (national average) to 35% generally or 13% in the case of reoffending leading to custodial sentence3.  It is estimated that the reduction in re-offending achieved by Kainos Community in three prisons, last year equated to a saving of £8million.In April 2009, the Centre for Social Justice published a major report on prison reform.1 The Carpenter’s House group, encouraged by the recommendation that Devon and Cornwall be selected as areas to pilot new Community Prison and Rehabilitation Trusts (CPRTs), invited prison designer Stuart Mitson2 to join their project.  In the following months fundraisers Resonance Ltd., were appointed and a formal steering group representing a range of local community interests was established under the chairmanship of Critchley and management consultant Julian Furbank of Furbank & Company.

    Critchley and Furbank have had a number of meetings at senior level in the Cabinet Office (Office of the Third Sector), the Ministry of Justice (National Offender Management Service) and the Centre for Social Justice as well as with their local Unitary Council.  The response has been very encouraging.

    Project Development

    In January 2010 members of the group together with an official from the Ministry of Justice (NOMS) visited a faith-based rehabilitation project at a prison near Stuttgart, Germany4. The project is the result of 13 years work by prison governor Tobias Merckle, whose vision has been brought about in conjunction with an enthusiastic regional Minister of Justice. The rehabilitation project has an impressive success rate and another region of Germany is now asking to be considered for a similar project.

    The concept of a prison for Cornwall is now evolving rapidly from initial aspiration into a blueprint for an effective solution.  A unique prison model for Cornwall (outlined below) is being developed out of local needs and adapted concepts that are rooted in sound practice. But perhaps the most intriguing and significant aspect of this venture is that not only do we get a glimpse of how community management of a prison-and-rehabilitation project could actually work, but we are also presented with a completely new concept for ‘prison’ in Cornwall that the community has designed!  This goes way beyond the level of community engagement that anyone would dare to conceive of in the field of offender management. Here we have a community designing and building the kind of prison they want, directing and managing it in the way they want, operating it in accordance with their design, and managing the rehabilitation of offenders back into their community in one seamless process.  The startling thing is that their solution looks so very credible. It will work for Cornwall, though clearly not for everywhere.  The wider application of this project is that communities in other counties would follow the same principles and come up with models that would work for them.

    The Shrinking Prison

    Other traditions of prison design and construction which are turned on their head in the Cornish project, are those of durability and (more recently) expandability.The proposed prison for Cornwall is designed on the basis of rehabilitation first and incarceration second.  This is not to suggest that the prison element will be any less secure than necessary.  However, instead of starting with the requirements of a (More …)

    • montreal canadiens tickets 10:32 pm on February 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hello there,

      This is a question for the webmaster/admin here at

      Can I use some of the information from your blog post right above if I give a backlink back to this site?


      • Nathan Murphy 10:31 am on March 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Daniel, Sure for that post; just so long as the site and author is clearly credited and back linked. Thanks.

    • Sistemas de Tecnologia 8:08 am on March 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

  • Nate Murphy 9:00 am on November 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Ministry of Justice and NOMS present at Prison Planning, Design and Development Conference 

    Terry Stocks, Head of Construction Delivery, Ministry of Justice and Nicola Lowitt, Head of Strategy and Programme, National Offender Management Service are scheduled to present the government insight into current and prospective outlook for prisons at the Prison Planning, Design and Development 2010 conference on 7-8th December in Kingsway Hall Hotel, London.

    With recent announcement of MoJ spending cut on new prison planning and £1.3 billion capital investment in redevelopment of existing prisons, the UK Prison Construction Industry is due to go through radical reform to emphasize on prisoner rehabilitation and shift to redevelopment. To address this, Construction IQ has confirmed the latest speaker faculty and agenda for the Prison Planning, Design and Development 2010 conference, taking place 7th – 8th December 2010 at Kingsway Hall Hotel, London.

    Keynoted speakers confirmed include Terry Stocks, Head of Construction Delivery, Ministry of Justice and Nicola Lowitt, Head of Strategy and Programme, National Offender Management Service.Mr. Stocks will be leading a session presenting a lean thinking construction philosophy to support and maintain accurate scheduling and reduce cost in the current construction environment. Ms. Lowitt, leads on national strategy for prison and probation estates, will follow up the government insight into the future custodial industry, analyse current working prisons and prospective outlook for prisons as well as drive forward the rehabilitating.

    The entire agenda revolves around prison planning, design and development for rehabilitation and sustainability, and the event provides a platform for discussing:

    • Innovative prefabrication to reduce prison cost and construction time• Design plans that facilitate rehabilitation and the leading the market updates

    • Proposed changes to the BREEAM Assessment in environmental standards and the impacts on construction companies

    • Planning best practice to avoid onsite oversights

    Terry Stocks and Nicola Lowitt will be (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 11:25 am on October 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Stuart Mitson on his ‘Solution for London’ 

    Stuart Mitson PortraitStuart Mitson is a former Prison Governor and Prison Director with more than 25 years operational experience in both the public and private sector. He currently leads a uniquely qualified and experienced team at Mitson Consulting Ltd offering consultancy on the design, construction and operation of new prisons.

    In this article Stuart describes his ‘Solution for London’-  a feasible and cost-effective way of providing additional prison places in London where they are currently needed most.  Until now, this has been an unthinkable proposition.

    According to recent estimates, there are about eleven thousand too few prison places in the London area to accommodate London’s convicted and remand prison population.

    The proposal to site two or three of five new 1,500-bed prisons (mini-titans) in Essex will only bring partial relief to the capital’s prison accommodation crisis. It is, at best, only a part solution and hardly a very satisfactory one (not least because the mini-titan programme is merely the poor relation of the discredited titan programme).  Essex is some way from London with all the problems of access for family visits, access to the courts and access to and for community and statutory organisations for rehabilitation purposes.

    A further problem is finding suitable (very large) sites, particularly in the South East, but the problem is being encountered in West Yorkshire the North West and North Wales where other locations are sought for the mini-titans.  To date, only one suitable site has been identified (Runwell, Essex).  The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) recently contracted out the search for sites.

    Other Solutions

    Not infrequently in past years there has been debate about selling off the (once) prime development sites that London’s old Victorian prisons occupy and putting the resource into the development of a series of prisons for London around the M25 corridor.

    The argument is (or was, in different economic times) that the solution is a ‘nil cost’ one because of the value of the vacated sites.  Even if/ when this were so, the proposition suffers the same drawbacks as the Essex solution – that distances and access for all essential purposes will be problematic and will only worsen over time.  If  there  is  a  case  for  the  M25  corridor solution, that case is best made on the grounds that the old London prisons are sub-standard, cannot really be operated safely and decently and should be closed down on humanitarian grounds.

    The M25 corridor solution will not solve access and rehabilitation problems.

    The suggestion that prison ships might again become a feature on the Thames (a throwback to the ‘Hulks’ of the 1700’s!) though dreadful in aspect and impractical as a civilised solution, indicates the strength of conviction that the proper (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 3:42 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Prison Education in Schools? 

    Can a greater awareness of the long-term consequences conviction, rather than the short term experience of prison, help enhance the deterrence value of the criminal justice system?

    Young people inherently do not understand how long their lives are or how today’s bad decisions can leave a legacy or limitations and restrictions they may have to live with for the rest of their lives.

    For a young person a year in prison does not seem like a particularly big deal especially if they have no dependants, no real financial ties and are not employed therefore, young people may benefit from understanding the long term and potentially very unglamorous effects of conviction.

    For the improvement of the deterrence effect Prisons have there may be benefit for an understanding of the Criminal Justice System to be taught as part of the school curriculum.

    This education may benefit from have some focus on the longer term effects (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 12:17 pm on August 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Deterrence value of prisons 

    “Imprisonment as such does not rehabilitate people, nor does it facilitate the ultimate goal of reintegration” 9

    For many people a spell inside prison is enough to stop them committing further crime but for others this is not the case; research has shown that over 65% of prisoners re-offend within two years of release16 suggesting that prison is only effective for one third of the people who pass through their gates.

    The deterrent value of the criminal justice system generally works well. This effectiveness can be starkly illustrated in areas throughout the world where societal breakdown and lawlessness greatly reduce the likelihood of crime leading to punishment. Sadly, in such environments, the level of crime (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 1:07 pm on July 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Perceptions of Political Risk 

    There is a common perception amongst politicians and civil servants that there cannot be a significant change within the Prisons they propose due to the risk of reactionary criticism from the press and potential loss of voter support. The other argument against creating better prisons comes down to cost; and in budgetary cycles this might be the case; but it is a Politicians duty to think about the longer term and to take in to account the cost savings that can be effected across the board with the creation of better Prisons.

    This perception is obviously damaging and politicians need to remember that just because a Prison is progressive or different it does not mean that it cannot also be designed to be acceptable or well received by the voter.

    On top of this Politicians need to remember that the build cost is dwarfed by the use-cycle of a prison which is in-turn dwarfed by the cost of a 77% reoffending rate.

    The following diagram sums up the basics.

  • Nate Murphy 8:04 am on April 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Imprisonment alone does not protect 

    The protection of the public is often cited as the primary reason for prisons to exist and it as a statement it is correct however, used in it’s current political context, it is a misleading and misconstrued aim.

    Politically speaking, secure imprisonment for a period of time is protecting the public from the prisoner, however, the protection it actually provides is merely a short-term side effect if nothing is done to reduce the chance of future offending. An offender locked up for five years protects the public for five years only, prisons should look to also protect the public for the remaining decades of the offenders life.

    There is frequent outrage against the state from the victims and the press when a prisoner released early commits further crime; but it is seemingly more acceptable if a prisoner reoffends if they have served a full sentence – clearly a mindset that strongly pushes the government towards a poor set of priorities.

    Politicians, journalists and victims need to push the case for the long term protection from criminal behavior; secure imprisonment on it’s own does not protect the pubic.

  • Nate Murphy 2:45 pm on March 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Prisoner self management 

    It is possible to enable prisoners to manage their own time, attend lessons and other appointments on their own accord while measuring how well they do so.

    A Prison and Prison System using cell and door locking designs that enable self management and monitoring of prisoners day to day lives can enable different prisoners to have different routines and liberties.

    The following image shows how a prisoners day could be organised with evening and morning association able to be very limited, or completely open depending on a prisoner’s earned liberty. Throughout the day prisoners ideally should be kept busy with educational activities which could range from learning to read to CBT.

    Depending on when prisoners are allowed to get up, breakfast, lunch and dinner is held at fixed times. For the most liberty restricted prisoners their day has little slack with their in-cell time hugging breakfast and dinner.

    Agreed lesson & activity time tables can allow prisoners to be at their scheduled appointments at the right time, for which attendance is monitored automatically. Attendance figures can feed into determine the level of their freedom over their schedule.

  • Nate Murphy 3:44 pm on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Smoking in prisons 

    Recent reports of the success of a prison that has a no smoking policy does not really come as much of a surprise; it is a common sense policy; it increases the deterrent value of prison, reduces the availability of tools for other drug taking and can also have significant health benefits. A little was written about this in a previous blog post.

    Alongside reductions in domestic assault and other crimes he number of burglaries on the Isle of Man has apparently dropped by 35 per cent along side a 25 per cent reduction in assaults, those caught for auto theft has fell by around 7 per cent

    The telegraph reported; “It’s a standing joke now that when we nick someone we remind them that if they get sent down they’ll have to come off the cigarettes – their faces are a (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 4:36 pm on December 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Opportunities for digital technologies 

    Online technology is becoming increasingly central to how people communicate and organise their lives  It enables a world of information to be at your fingertips, low-cost quick methods of communication and not to mention the vast growth of social media in its various forms.

    The creation and mass adoption of new technologies combined with shifts in consumer expectation provides many opportunities for application of  Digital Technology within Prisons.

    Internet kiosks like this one, by Protec UK, could help facilitate various communications and other program based systems utilising DigitalTechnology.

    The following describes a few ideas for where digital technologies could be used to (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 10:00 am on December 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Prison Cell design concept 

    The prison cell is central to the housing of an inmate and makes up the core of a prison’s architecture. Changes to the prison cell can enable significant changes to the prison systems. The cell detailed here has focus to enable different prisoners to be able to have different schedules, to manage themselves while improving security and enabling more efficient prison management.

    This prison cell design is based around an access tag system that enables prisoners to lock and unlock their own cell, this would of course be over-ridden by prison staff. Prisoners can tag-in to their cells at certain times set for them – enabling them to conform with a system and show intent towards good behavior and to gain further flexibility over their schedule and control over their cell features.

    The cell includes a large window, toilet, lighting, basin, chair and bed and provides the ability for a prisoner to manage their own day, lock their own cell and for the prison management to allow ‘upgrades’ to individual prisoners cells – through allowing more control over their environment and schedule.

    The angles of all components enable near total viewing from the front of the cell. A reduction in corners means cleaning is easier and the general form makes it hard to hide anything.

    The cell maximises the use of moulded-in features reduces raw materials for the creation weapons or other devices.

    Studies have shown that prisoners housed singly tended to fare better despite having the least space in square feet 25 and the cell design takes these findings onboard but aims to also maximise the space allowable by reducing wasted footprint.

    Cell design features & benefits: Prisoners are able to lock their door with a small lock themselves keeping out other prisoners and giving them some personal (‘safe’) space

    • Simple control panel if activated: Includes radio for head phones and lighting levels step based controls
    • Every part of the cell is visible from the front for continuous or switch-on CCTV management for general control or suicide risk monitoring.
    • Cell is as simple as possible with many items moulded in using concrete, such as the chair and the bed.
    • Use of sleeping area as a separate bunk system makes cell space efficient but while still giving prisoners suitable space for living.
    • Toughened glass fronts giving protection for prisoners while they sleep and giving a feel of a lighter and less imposing structure.
    • Toilet and wash basin unit with one secured access panel for maintenance.
    • Glass panels have LCD laminate to allow the turning on of a privacy screen over the door and sleeping area.
    • Horizontal bars, rather than vertical gives a better feeling of freedom as it fits better with landscapes and does not interfere so harshly with visual effect.

    Cell Design: (NB: Doors and windows update coming soon - current images do not yet have anti-ligature point features shown)

    Nowhere to hide... anything. 'Front on' visibility enables quicker searches of cells

    Beds and bedding

    The bed is designed with space saving and prisoner wellbeing in mind. Studies have shown that prisoners get on better when they are by themselves even if their cell area is less. It is constructed using reinforced concrete and in each bed area has an inset mattress area to contain the mattress. The raised bed has indented foot grips to make it easier to ascend.


    The doors have a RFID swipe system for prisoner tags, and prison officer keys (More …)

    • delphine 10:28 am on January 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I would like to know wich studies you’re talking about when you say “Studies have shown that prisoners housed singly tended to fare …” and if you can give me the link or the source of this studie.
      Thank you

    • Nathan Murphy 2:36 pm on February 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply Is a list of various references; probably look at the Prison Reform Trust for more info also.

    • delphine 1:10 pm on February 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      thank you!

    • USA Jailer 7:44 pm on April 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hmmmm….interesting concepts, but they have little beyond concept at this point.
      Self tinting glass and beds that you either climb or lay near the floor would never work in an operational setting.
      Nice ideas, but not too realistic from my experience.

    • Simon 2:10 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Replying to USA Jailer: I can see why the self tinting glass wouldn’t work but could you explain your bed comments? How is it different from bunk beds that are used in many cells?

  • Nate Murphy 1:51 pm on December 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Introduction to Prison Design 

    Introduction to prison design

    A prison is a complex environment with many different people with different needs and roles within a prison. From the visiting process to prisoner health-care there are significant design challenges to enable a more effective and efficient prison system. Although the design of a prison needs to be driven by the systems that it facilitates; changes to elements, for example locking systems, can allow significant advances and changes to how core systems and services can operate.

    Taking this on board means designing systems, services and prison design elements side by side with the design of the super-structure created from the resulting requirements. The super-structure of the prison is largely irrelevant until the system and design changes to the way a prison is ran and managed are fully figured out – changes to relatively small aspects of the way a prison works can have huge knock-on effects to how the super-structure can be designed and organised.

    The model of a government or company providing an architect with a design specification based on size and plots of land and a list of security requirements is not suitable for the development of prisons today. An intermediary set of designers, psychologists, engineers, technologists working and consulting with prison-based-practitioners, social-service-practitioners, education experts and ex-prisoners need to be involved to create a full and detailed specification towards creating a prison that works.

    A proposed prison cannot be too ‘nice’. Politicians need to be able to propose prisons that the electorate will actually let them build; and prisons are a highly contentious area where almost every member of society will have a reasonably strong opinion regarding how it should be; regardless of their knowledge or lack thereof.  To build a prison today it needs to appear in a way that is acceptable to it’s citizen stakeholders – but on the inside be incredibly progressive in how it works, how it links up all services required to help reduce reoffending and makes the prison management more efficient and more effective to an end result of protecting the public in the long term.

    A prison should be designed;

    • For the effective management of prisoner’s liberties
    • For economical and easy maintenance
    • To provide strong limitations for hiding contraband & manufacturing weapons
    • To make vandalism difficult and minimise fire risk
    • With simplicity and security in mind
    • Bearing in mind all the wide ranging systems and services it needs to facilitate
    • To design-out as many core problems prisoners and prison staff face as possible

    “Secure prisons are essential to making our justice system an effective weapon against crime. When prisoners – convicted or awaiting trial – are entrusted to your care, they must know and the public must know that they will remain there until they are legally discharged…”  Nelson Mandela (Kroonstad, 25 June 1998) 1

    The security of a prison should go further than preventing escape, but also include the effective control of communication of prisoners with the outside world to prevent the continuation of organised crime, or intimidation of witnesses or victims by incarcerated prisoners.

    Click here to view a Prison Cell Design

    • ajo 5:53 am on July 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      i want to build this. i can imagine no great problem. the swivel could be just as strong an industrial bearing as necessary.

  • Nate Murphy 9:13 am on December 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Prisoner access-tag system 

    The following image shows a basic design concept for access tags to be assigned to every prisoner upon entrance to prison. The tag features a clip together clasp which once fastened is not possible to undo without a tool. Steel cable embedded in a rubber band could secure the band to the prisoner. Upon exit, the tags are cut off.

    Tags can be applied to the wrist or ankle

    The wrist tags allow;

    • Monitoring of a prisoners location
    • Locking and unlocking of their own cell
    • Access to be controlled to various areas
    • Know which prisoner is talking on the phone for conversation monitoring reasons
    • Allow prisoners to access internet or prison email
    • Allow prisoners to access information about them (Term length, access abilities, forecast, behavior record)

    Prison Officer Access Key

    A prison officer access key allows prison officers to move through the allowed areas of the prison with ease. The keys are recoded daily to ensure security and prevent the use of stolen keys. It is possible to simply ‘turn off’ a prison officer’s key in the situation where it has been stolen by an prisoner.

    At key boundaries the use of manual locks should be maintained to reduce the potential of escape through access key manipulation.

    Easier routine movements

    Prisoners are often required to move in and out of the prison for court appearances. The procedure for this should be as simple as possible and current systems are probably up to the job. Identification aspects of prison’s in-and-out procedures should be aided by, but not depend on, prisoner tags which may link to biometrics on the prison database.

    Tag-enabled self-management and variable schedule system

    Depending on when prisoners are allowed to get up, breakfast, lunch and dinner is held at fixed times. For the most liberty restricted prisoners their day has little slack with their in-cell time close breakfast and dinner.

    Agreed lesson & activity time tables allow prisoners to be at their scheduled appointments at the right time, for which attendance is monitored. ‘Free periods’ will be available for private study or association time.

    Different prisoners could earn more control over thier schedule allowing more time out of thier cell

    Education periods can involve:

    • Classes
    • Study activities
    • Tutoring/Mentoring
    • Computer based work
    • Prison work
    • Free periods

    The self-management of such a system, where different prisoners have different lock-in times to adhere to, can be aided by time broadcasting systems and reminders to prevent prisoners needlessly losing out by simply losing track of time.

    • Izmir 12:38 pm on November 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We intrested to be one of your vendor in Malaysia..Kindly send us your brocure to us….or who can i contact…..tq

      • Nathan Murphy 5:16 pm on December 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Vendor for which products. We do not really sell products, but can recommend companies if you wish to have introductions.

        • Eduardo 9:23 am on May 27, 2011 Permalink

          We interested in this product. Do you Know, Where we to buy?

    • izmir 4:11 am on December 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      the prison tag..where can i find this product

  • Nate Murphy 3:57 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Reducing employer’s risk 

    Susidising employment for the first months of employment could help prisoners gain stable employment on release.

    Research has shown that nothing succeeds in preventing recidivism more effectively than employment. 10 Research has also shown that more than two thirds of all prisoners are unemployed when they go to prison18 which suggests that either they are claiming benefits, making a living illegally or both.

    Reducing employer risk

    There is opportunity for prisoners who have poor records of employment to forge links with employers who may be able to take willing prisoners once they leave prison for a trial period of time, during which, part of their wages and NI contribution are paid for by the government. (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 3:51 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Could accountability systems help rehabillitation? 

    Prisoners are often likely to lie to their spouses regarding to how well they are behaving whilst in prison to appear to be doing all they can to get early parole even if the opposite is true. There is the potential for creating systems that automatically report how well a prisoner is behaving to their families.

    A system of report cards giving the basic details of how well the prisoner is behaving could allow an prisoner’s actions while inside prison to be accountable outside. Such a report could be sent to an prisoner’s spouse, parents or children above a certain age.

    With a ‘report card’ system there could be a danger of institutional criminals committing crime to feed credibility to criminal friends, not wishing to seem passive to the system, for this reason would need some care in its execution and be directed to those with positive influence or restrictions for prisoners of certain criminal backgrounds. Such a system could equally be an opportunity for people to understand the changes within the person while in prison.

    The aim would be to create a system which provides transparency (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 3:39 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Prison Education 

    It is obviously of great importance that prisoners’ have an acceptable standard of literacy and numeracy if they are to have a chance of gaining employment when they are released from prison. The lack of confidence illiteracy and innumeracy can present can itself become an effective barrier to employment.

    This year 16,000 [prisoners] are being taught numeracy and literacy – the basic skills of more than two-thirds of prisoners are so poor they are automatically excluded from 94 per cent of jobs.10

    The teaching of basic skills should be rolled out through to all of these prisoners in need. Through the access of computer based education programs it can allow a reduction in cost and the setting of targets for prisoners will help improve take up.

    48% of prisoners are at or below the level expected of an 11 year old in reading, 82% in writing 18 (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 3:25 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Tackling the self-justification of crime 

    If a prisoner can still provide self-justification for thier crime then they will not see what they have done as wrong; something that is likly to impact on thier reoffending

    Prisoners perhaps need to learn to appreciate what they have, or can have, outside of prison, understand why their action are unacceptable to society and strip back their self justification of the crimes they commit. It is of little importance what a society sees as unacceptable when the individuals making the decisions have their own self justified value systems.

    • A simplistic example may be of someone who seriously assaulted someone justifying their actions by stating that “He made me angry”. This does not come close to justifying serious assault in the eyes of society but on a personal level it can easily justify actions and pass blame on to the victim.

    Prisoners must understand that the reason they committed crime is not justification. There is a need to understand why and accept that what they have done is wrong.

    It is likely that some prisoners just don’t ‘get’ society, especially from a ‘bigger picture’ perspective. Some don’t understand how they fit in, and the damage they can cause through their criminal actions and many others simply don’t care.

  • Nate Murphy 2:55 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , prison induction,   

    Personal development & induction process 

    Prison should be a center for personal development, be it educational, psychological or attitude.

    Prison should also empower those who want to change, and help those who don’t want to change understand why they need to; people who do not want to change never will.

    Induction process

    Induction is central to the education and personal development of prisoners, It allows prison management to work out what is most important for each prisoner, how to involve the family, create links to an officer or tutor and agree with the prisoner on a plan for working towards release.

    Initial entry

    Initial entry to the prison should be controlled, thoroughly explained and it must be made clear what is expected of prisoners while inside prison. Systems can be (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 2:45 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Drug rehabilitation 

    New prison systems should reduce the ability to gain access and pay for drugs to prevent prisoners from gaining habits while inside prison, and also to enable effective drug rehabilitation.

    Releasing a drug addict back in to the community is neither protecting society against crime2 or is it likely to improve the situation for the prisoner.

    Prisoners where there is a strong link between crime and the finance of drug use will benefit from a drug rehabilitation course and should perhaps have their release deferred until they are no longer dependant on drugs.

    Drug rehabilitation should not be made easy for drug addicts in prison.

    Prisoners should come in to prison and go ‘cold turkey’, rather than being let down gently using a variety of ‘come down’ drugs like methadone. The fact is that if coming off drugs is not difficult or unpleasant, starting again be easier to make the decision to start again. During this process prisoners should, as they normally are, be (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 2:40 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: female prisoners, , ,   

    Female prisoners 

    The vast majority of female prisoners are commited for non-violent offences and need support rather than punishment

    Statistics show that nearly two thirds of female prisoners have a drug problem, over half have suffered domestic abuse, one in three have been victims of sexual abuse, sixty six percent are mothers and of those thirty percent have their children taken in to care and one in five are foreign nationals18. On top of this; one in four women in prison have spent time in local authority care as a child and sixty percent are imprisoned outside of their home region18. (See cluster concept that could allow female prisoners, around 20% of prisoner totals, to be kept closer to their home town)

    These statistics build up a picture where some of the women in our prisons are amongst the most tragic and vulnerable members of society.

    Drug abuse is the primary reason women enter prison and is the primary health problem of women in prison 33 and it is clear that many of these women require help not punishment. Removing access to their children and punishing through incarceration is unlikely to help when they need proper rehabilitation. This rehabilitation and support should span through from drug rehabilitation to (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 2:38 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Segregating by Prisoner Type 

    Recognising that different prisoners generally require different experiences from prison; it is necessary to determine what these main differences are. It is also generally the type of crime which led to their conviction that indicates the type of help they require.

    Drug addiction related convictions

    Addicts are likely to require rehabilitation and support to help them to stop their drug habit. Some will need to redefine who they are and what they do without drugs These people are likely to require significant support and counselling to prevent a quick return to drugs upon leaving prison.

    Violence & Sex Crimes

    People who have committed serious crimes of a violent or sexual nature need to understand the seriousness of their crime. These people also require psychiatric support to help grasp a real understanding of their crime. CBT currently carried out in prisons has been shown to work and such schemes should be continued.

    Financially motivated crime (Younger prisoners)

    These people need attitude, skills and employability development. They need to understand why the life they are leading is unsustainable. These younger prisoners generally (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 2:32 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Getting the balance right 

    Prison needs to be a balance between being punitive undesirable places and supportive and rehabilitative institutions which give people the opportunity to leave and live a normal life. Without this balance either the deterrence value of prisons is diminished and victims do not feel that justices has been done or prison will not reduce recidivism.

    Different prisoners will need different amounts of one, the other, or both in order to reduce the chance of reoffending.

    It is also clear that different prisoners have different problems and different requirements. It stands to reason that for those who are in prison for less serious crimes, and have shorter sentences, the punitive and deterrence factor of prison should play a bigger part, and those who are incarcerated for serious crimes for longer periods of time require a more reasonable standard of living and longer term support towards preventing re-offending.

    A long-term based Liberty Managed system could inherently makes it difficult for prisoners to earn a half comfortable life in the short term; enhancing the punitive deterrent effect of prisons and hopefully helping to reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

  • Nate Murphy 2:23 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Visiting a Prison 

    Visiting, especially for children, can be greatly improved to enhance the positive effects family can have on an prisoner

    Visiting plays an important role in keeping contact with family members and reducing the likelihood of institutionalising prisoners. Currently prisoners are usually allowed visits at least once a fortnight.31

    In the UK prisoners are currently allowed a minimum of one hour visiting time. This guideline of a minimum is sometimes not met, and rarely exceeded. Prisons and Prison Systems should be designed to withstand more than one hour of visiting time, the conversion of minimums in to ‘standards’ for these beneficial aspects of prison life is poor form. Within a Liberty Managed system, and bearing in mind the scale of proposed individual prisons one would hope that visits can become more often, and longer than the minimums, if anything out of respect for the time and effort visitors spend going to and from the prison.

    The following issues with visiting were found (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 2:00 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , prison email   

    Communication Concepts 

    A communication system can be designed to increase security, improve relations between prisoners and prison management, reduce prevalence of rumours and make it easier to expose corruption and easier for prisoners to keep in touch with family and friends.

    Communication between prisoners and the outside world for obvious reasons needs to be monitored for prisoners trying to further criminal activity. There should be communication channels where easy communication with prison authorities can be achieved without the risk of prison officer interference.

    Currently prisoners are allowed access to designated telephones, access must be provided to new prisoners and any prisoner who needs to make an urgent domestic call17. Prisoners must be provided free private telephone access to the Samaritans and ‘Listener’ services provided by all prisoner designated telephones.27

    Letter pack concept

    Written correspondence could be managed through a ‘letter pack’ system. Prisoners are able to collect a letter pack, which enables them to send two letters. Letter packs are collected one at a time by the prisoner by swiping a Personal Access Tag on a dispensing machine. This will print a bar code to the envelope encoding the prisoner’s identity number; a control aimed to reduce potential trade of envelopes.

    Returning the pack for postage could be a (More …)

    • Eythor Vidisson 3:24 pm on June 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hello. Me and my coworkers are currently participating in the design of security specs. for the first icelandic prison built in over 40 years. My question is, whether you know of any standards (international / national / local) regarding the building and operating jails/prisons as such?

      • Nathan Murphy 3:40 pm on June 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Eythor, I would suggest getting in touch with Stuart Mitson – he has a lot of area in operations side of things and might be able to help you out in this area. You can contact him via

  • Nate Murphy 1:44 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    How far should Prison Surveillance go? 

    Total CCTV surveillance can provide security for staff and prisoners

    The monitoring of prisoners is a contentious issue; the level of monitoring is thought to influence prisoners stress levels but on the other hand the monitoring of prisoners is a clear way to improve security, reduce crime within prison, and keep check on vulnerable prisoners. It goes without saying that a safer prison is also a less stressful prison, for prisoners as well as staff.

    People are faced with CCTV intrusion whether they are shopping, walking down the street, driving on the roads or, in many cases, at work. This intrusion upon innocent people is, rightly or wrongly, generally accepted and the level of intrusive surveillance continues to grow at an (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 1:35 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Money, Drugs & Contraband 

    There is generally a significant contraband problem within UK Prisons and each year hundreds of weapons, blades and knives24 and thousands of other illicit items, drugs and mobile phones are confiscated from prisoners. 23

    “It’s a continual problem taking stuff off prisoners. It’s like painting the Forth Bridge – a never-ending job.”
    Derek Turner, Scottish secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association

    Contraband and a Liberty Managed System

    All items but those earned through the would be deemed contraband and the physical design of the prison should make it difficult to manufacture weapons and conceal contraband items. In this environment everything prisoner-facing should be designed with simplicity and make use of extensive Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) with special attention to potential misuse though (More …)

    • Mat 10:22 am on May 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      The figures are spriuous. It is impossible to have such a result. What I suspect it means is that 89% voted for some sort of industrial action and 78% for a strike. 11% voted therefore for action short of a strike. This really needs clarifcation by the writer.Arbitration is all very well, but neither this nor a strike is likely to be of much use for the staff who have already lost their jobs!

  • Nate Murphy 1:14 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Managing prisoner’s liberties 

    In UK prisons a privilege level scheme already exists. It is an ascending system which generally has three levels; ‘Basic level’ (Normal prison activities and privileges), ‘Standard Level’ (which may include increase in visits, association time, in-cell television or higher rates of pay) and ‘Enhanced level’ (which is generally more than standard level with priority for consideration of higher rate of pay and possibly better surroundings).12

    Under other ‘earnable’ privileges this includes extra access privileges to facilities, a television inside their cell, more time outside their cell, higher rates of pay, extra and improved visits and in certain institutions and in certain situations wearing their own clothes.12

    ‘Good behaviour’ and ‘performance’ leads to the aforementioned privileges and is classified in a list of various examples which include; ‘effort and achievement in work and other constructive activities’, ‘non violence’, ‘non discrimination’, ‘supporting the efforts of other prisoners (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 12:55 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    The Prison Cluster design 

    The scale of a prison has a direct impact on the ability of the management to control, protect and rehabilitate prisoners. Following the Strageway Prison riots in 1990, Lord Woolf’s report recommended that the maximum size of a prison should be four hundred prisoners.

    Keeping prisons to a scale where prisoners can be seen and known as people rather than faces or numbers will also help prisoners feel like individuals who have ‘worth’ and matter to society; it is well known that the larger an institution the more ‘anonymous’ people can be which has direct impact on people’s behavior.

    “Big institutions are places where riots happen, and there has been no shortage of riot studies in criminal justice.” 7

    Prison cluster concept

    Prisons can be built in clusters of four or more, built on (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 12:37 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Commercial prisons – revenue model concept 

    Private companies do have the potential run prisons effectively thanks to their position to create a ‘fresh’ start and work under political interference however, to ensure that the prisons are run effectively the revenue model must be dictated towards the right end.

    There is the potential for rewarding private companies based on the reduced levels of reoffending as this equates substantial amounts of government money saved.

    The following diagram represents a concept for the engagement of private companies and their payment based on results. The system would of course need to more complex, however it is a potentially robust concept to strongly encourage private companies to build and manage prisons more effectively.

    (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 12:26 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Prison effectiveness 

    To build a Prison or Prison System it is important to state to what end the system works. The overall effectiveness of a prison system should be the rate of reoffending. Also to be taken in to consideration is the appeasement of the other stakeholders of the prison system which, in varying degrees, includes every citizen.

    A design should be entirely centered on rehabilitation, but be an environment that voters can accept, a system victims are appeased by through being perhaps less comfortable and less media-rich environments, where prison staff are better off by creating career progression, up-skilled jobs and the ‘uninterested’ stake-holder by creating a prison system that ultimately protects them from crime in the short and the long term.

    Measurement of success

    The over riding measurement of the success of prisons should be the rate of reoffending. No other factor comes close to giving a true impression of how successful not just prisons, but the entire criminal justice system is. This measurement is not all (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 12:06 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Crime in prison 

    When designing a prison we should try to design-out the ability to commit crime inside a prison without consequence.

    If people are able to commit crime without consequence in a highly controlled environment it conveys a poor message to those incarcerated regarding society’s ability to stop them, and others, of committing crime. It may be one of the factors in the development of habitually criminal people. There is a risk of restoring an prisoner’s confidence in avoiding justice or developing feelings of being above the law.

    The ability for prisoners to commit crime should be (More …)

  • Nate Murphy 12:04 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    The basics of human rights, prisoner safety & prison security 

    Only liberty itself should taken from prisoners; this therefore does not extend to their humanity or dignity – and these are well established standards for the treatment of prisoners. It is also well established that it is the responsibility of the incarcerator to ensure that prisoners are safe.
    If an prisoner is fearful of others in a highly controlled and restricted environment it can provide create strong reasons for the self justification of (More …)

    • stephanie 7:17 pm on May 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I need help, my son is in prison and he is in fear of his safety! I spoke to the warden and he seemed to not care!!!

      • Nathan Murphy 2:55 am on May 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I would get in touch with organisations that are more able to help – there are a few – just google for Prisoner Support Charities or similar.

  • Nate Murphy 12:03 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Liberty Management concept 

    Liberty deprivation as the only punishment of prison is a well established standard that adheres to prisoner human rights. A system where prisoners are able to earn back some of the liberties they have lost in order to earn their way back in to society.

    Current systems, for example; in the UK, where prisoners with good behaviour, can earn a television in their cell, are generally based on an opt-in basis. These ‘opt in’ systems can be counter productive as harder prisoners are able to completely reject the system and criticise those who comply.

    If well designed such a system could be an inherent part of prison life. Prisoners can (More …)

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