While architecture and the work of architects are not frequently identified as central to this system, we know that buildings are integral to the perpetuation of the carceral state, and that architects have a role in not just how but whether those buildings are built. We acknowledge that, in the past, many architects of good will have sought to mitigate the harm these buildings cause by improving their design. However, it has become increasingly obvious that the carceral system’s primary effects are not beneficial, and that directly contributing to its design, construction, and expansion perpetuates harm.
We also strongly believe that architects have a special opportunity and responsibility to lead on this issue. As stakeholders across society develop tactics and frameworks for meaningful reform, the imagination and work of architects will be a vital part of bringing a new system into being. By engaging with these issues now and taking a clear stand, architects can position themselves to be at the forefront of long overdue changes to our current system.
- Over two million Americans are imprisoned, the most in the world. The US has over 300,000 more prisoners than the next country, Chinaprisonstudies.org
- 13% of the country’s population is Blackcensus.gov
- But they account for 27% of all arrestsojjdp.gov
- Black youths are particularly targeted by law enforcement, accounting for 35% of all arrests of youthsojjdp.gov
- Nearly 50% of Black males are arrested by the age of 23reuters.com
- Black men are 5.8 times more likely to be imprisoned than white menbjs.gov