Rethinking the architecture of incarceration : a proposed pre-release centre for female offenders in Durban.
It is beyond the scope of the present brief to appraise the degree of failure regarding the idea of imprisonment or to uncover a universal prototype for all incarcerative facilities. Therefore the focus of this dissertation will pertain directly to the rehabilitation and reintegration of women in prison through the built form, with specific emphasis in dealing with the psychological repercussions that the correctional environment incurs. The research study identifies rehabilitation and reintegration as key strategies for lowering the recidivism rate of offenders and attempts to understand the complex incarcerative subculture that exists in order to facilitate change. Criminological theories linked to the key strategies include: Panopticism, the theory of rehabilitation and the institutional theory. Here the interest leans toward current and dated methods of reform. The search for characteristics which constitute an effective facility that will seek to ready the offender for release will drive the design process and create a resource for forward-thinking, small scale, correctional and pre-release facilities for women. The dissertation includes issues which have come to dominate discussions surrounding incarceration and a response to the commonly asked question: should incarcerative facilities be moving toward rehabilitation rather than punishment? Corresponding qualitative research involving both local and global institutions is conducted in order to provide a multifaceted understanding of the existing state of South African correctional facilities and contemporary interpretations aligned with positive change worldwide. Findings through observational analysis and interviews with correctional personnel will be used to inform the outcome of the research which confirms that there is a definite need for an emphasis to be placed on the re-entry process of offenders. It also indicates that while South African penal policies are largely progressive, facilities in which offenders are imprisoned remain outdated, ultimately revealing an environment that is unfavourable towards rehabilitation.