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FAQs
Additional questions? Please send your inquiries to: membervoices@aiany.org

Does this mean AIANY is banning the design of justice facilities?

No, AIANY is not limiting the legally allowed work of its members. However, the chapter will not be honoring work that it considers antithetical to the institution’s Code of Ethics.

Will firms or individuals who do this type of work be able to participate in AIANY?

Yes, they will. There are no specific limitations to firms or individuals who wish to participate as regular AIANY members. However, there will be limitations on the honors that specific projects may receive.

Will this position change if there is reform to the system? How will AIANY judge that?

Our hope is that this policy becomes moot in the future as significant structural changes are made to the American criminal justice system. The Chapter looks forward to being part of conversations around reform and restorative justice, and is ready to do the work, and to encourage members to contribute, when the US justice system is more equitable and humane. We are committed to continuous assessment and understanding of reforms and changes to the system, and will rely on the expertise of organizations, advocates and others to help us discern the impacts of future reforms. We welcome our members’ participation and contributions to that dialogue over the long term.

How can I participate in these discussions?

AIANY will host programming and exhibitions and offer advocacy opportunities. We encourage members to participate actively in all of these, or to become part of the newly reconstituted Architecture for Justice Committee.

Does AIANY believe all prisons should be abolished?

While prison abolition is an increasingly prevalent position among many activists and justice groups, the AIANY does not have a stance on it. As a professional association, we are concerned with the impacts of policies, past, present, and future, on the built environment and on the practice of architecture.

Does AIANY no longer support the current Borough-based jails plan for New York City? How about other ongoing criminal justice facility projects?

Our position on Borough-based jails is unchanged, having neither advocated for or against it. AIANY positions itself as a resource for City agencies seeking to work with architects and ensure quality design outcomes. We plan to continue that work, and to participate in discussions to ensure that as projects move forward, spaces that will hold detainees are more humane. Our understanding of the parameters of what is humane and just are evolving as we deepen our discussions and examinations of the justice system.

What can be submitted for Design Awards and how will projects be judged?

No specific projects are prohibited for submission by this policy. The AIANY Design Awards Jury will receive a copy of the Chapter’s Statement on Justice Facilities as part of their juror instructions. In addition to the usual evaluation of how well a project fulfills its client program, projects that incorporate aspects of the justice system in their program will be expected to demonstrate excellence in the support of systems, processes, and typologies that mitigate harm, provide alternatives to imprisonment, foster restorative justice, and/or enhance investment in communities of color.

How will AIANY support and highlight firms that refrain from working on criminal justice facilities?

Through programming, reporting, and other means, AIANY is committed to spotlighting the work of members and firms which help advance needed reforms to the criminal justice system. We recognize that this is a long process that will unfold over the coming years, and that architects will be instrumental in imagining the built environment for a less racist and more just criminal justice system. Furthermore, our long-term commitment to this issue means the Chapter will be working to understand, and highlight, thinking and work that moves meaningful system reform forward.

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