For many years, architects have debated their role in the racialized abuses of the American criminal justice system and how architecture can perpetuate, and even legitimize, injustices. As a professional association, AIA New York has a responsibility to encourage its members to uphold the AIA Code of Ethics, and “employ their professional knowledge and skill to design buildings and spaces that will enhance and facilitate human dignity and the health, safety, and welfare of the individual and the public.” As such, the Chapter will not reward or highlight work that perpetuates harmful and unjust systems, including criminal justice facilities in the current US context. AIANY seeks to encourage members engaging in this work to consider redirecting their efforts toward restorative justice and other meaningful reforms or pursue areas of design that serve to uplift users and communities.
- 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