Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

4-21-2016

Degree Program

Architecture

Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

May

Abstract

Every year the United States corrections system costs tax payers $52 billion. The failures of the prison system are both tangible and intangible. This Thesis research builds on existing literature to seek out a solution to the high rate of recidivism post release.

Can design be employed as a tool with the potential to reduce rates of recidivism in the prison population? The City of Springfield, in Western Massachusetts, acts as a test case to examine the inter-relationships of social science, neuroscience, and architecture. Initial research identified the primary obstacles individuals face after prison that contribute to keeping recidivism rates high. This is not intended to oversimplify the issues or suggest there is an easy solution, but to provide a starting point to try something new.

Ultimately, this thesis deals with how architecture can provide a concrete solution to the deep set, less tangible roadblocks to successful reintegration. Residents often lack a sense of self-worth, personal responsibility and stable social ties. In addition to designing a building to provide the physical support system that released prisoners often lack, such as housing, access to transportation, and access to services, the project will explore techniques to serve a much greater purpose and provide a model for a re-imagined process of incarceration, release, healing and growth.

First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Ray Kinoshita Mann