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Prison Arcology

Reducing the footprint of prisons
  (+2, -5)
(+2, -5)
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The main feature of this prison is that it would be tall, and designed as a prison from the get-go. There was plans to turn a high-rise apartment building into a prison in south africa that was 54 stories tall, but they were probably rejected, after all, people lived in the building still.

Chance of (safe) escape would be extremely low. There could be checkpoint placed on the 4th floor, with all prison space above the 4th floor. Office space, security, shipping and recieving, whatever can be located away from the prisoners is located down there.

Amenities for the prisoners would vary from floor to floor. There wouldn't be a weight room on every floor, heck there might not even be shower rooms on every floor.(although probably showers every other floor) Because it would be a pain to trek to *all* the basketball courts only to find them all occupied, perhaps the prisoners will be allowed to see camera feeds for the the BBall courts. Like, at the Ball court on the 45th floor, you can see what's going on in the Ball court on the 39th, 33rd, etc.

The 4th floor checkpoint has a service elevator and staircase that goes up to the 5th floor only. from there, goods can be wheeled to service elevators on the staff side, or moved into the prisoner area. One section of every floor will be reserved for staff, and prisoners shall not have access to these areas, but prisoners will have their own staircases, and, if safe, maybe even their own elevator(s), that go from 5th floor to the top.

Prisoners should not normally be able to reach the 4th floor checkpoint, but staff can reach it easily. Other than , the floor/ceiling between 4th and 5th is reinforced.

If warranted, some floors can be blocked off from the amenties and general population for higher security prisoners.

If, god forbid, the prison needs to be evacuated, the checkpoint of the fourth floor will be a chokepoint in the evacuation, and prisoners might crush each other mobbing that one point. So, to prevent this, the stairways in the prison areas will have to be able to be locked, although normally they won't be. After all, there maybe be a weight room on the 10th floor and a basketball court on the 30th floor, and a single library on the top floor.

But during evacuation, all but the 5th floor would be locked until the 5th floor is 80% evacuated, then the 6th, etc, so that is less of a crushing effect during the evacutation.

Outdoor activities would be conducted on the roof. The roof would be fenced in for obvious safety reasons.

Efficiency would be a goal of this prison, in both design and prisoner lifestyle. Any labor that can be done by the prisoners to make things easier is done. This might include laundry, maybe even the cooking/meal cleanup.

Location for such a facility would be a tricky issue-- I don't think many people would appreciate being able to see a prison from miles and miles away. But I'm hoping the land freed up by shutting down smaller, older, out-of-date prisons will counteract some of the nimbyism.

There's more fleshing out to do for the idea, but that's the basics.

Madai, Sep 16 2005

Twin Towers Correctional Facility http://en.wikipedia...rrectional_Facility
The idea shares some similarities to this structure sited in urban Los Angeles. It is the single largest jail in the world. [jurist, Sep 16 2005]

Views of Twin Towers: 890K Quick Time Movie http://www.cnn.com/...t.jail/ghstjail.mov
[jurist, Sep 16 2005]

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       Most escapes I have heard of involve error, failing or cooperation on the part of guards, not failings in the structure or design of the prison.
bungston, Sep 16 2005

       I don't see any special advantages to building a prison tall.
DrCurry, Sep 16 2005

       Well Bungston, the checkpoint could be heavily manned, so, the human factor on escapes would also be mitigated.   

       The special advantage to a tall prison, if you reject the difficulty of escape, is the fact it takes up less ground space per prisoner housed. If a prison that takes up 2 acres can hold as many prisoners as one that takes up 40 acres, that's progress. Surely those 38 acres can go to some other use, perhaps returned to habitat.
Madai, Sep 16 2005

       How about a "path of life" prison, if you want a concept? Entirely underground, it is a series of rooms with one-way doors, within which may be one occupant at a time. Your time inside is directly affected by the transit time of the inmate in the room you wish to enter. Parallel access terminals serve to route services, visitors, and commutation of sentences.   

       Actually, seems to resemble a role-playing game and all.
reensure, Sep 16 2005

       Now that sounds like one of several dozen sci fi films - maybe The Cube.
DrCurry, Sep 16 2005

       reensure, I'm not aiming for "alternative punishment" with this idea. I would like the prison to be as self-sufficient as practical, and having a wide variety of employment opportunities in the prison, but, there's only so many jobs you can do in a prison.
Madai, Sep 16 2005

       wasn't this baked in the medieval times? ... prison tower?
ixnaum, Sep 18 2005

       Start sowing the sheets together, tonight we base jump.   

       I could see this being somewhat beneficial to society so long as the floors above the tenth level had no bars nor windows. There may be some potential for reduction of the inmate population. Of course, it would be good to design the sidewalks around the building well away from the "drop zone".
Blisterbob, Sep 20 2005

       Don't you mean windows with no bars?
DrCurry, Sep 20 2005

       I can see the advantage of a smaller building footprint [Madai] but I don't think a taller prison would necessarily be more difficult to escape from.

In order to implement your anti-mobbing staircase solution, the doors on the staircases will need to be electronically controlled, with all the potential for malfunction and tampering that this implies. In addition, whilst your system might prevent prisoner/guard deaths by mobbing, you seem to have ignored the reason the bottleneck would be crowded out in the first place - the imminent danger of death by fire/gas/whatever prompted the evacuation. It would seem that all the system would do in this case is to ensure prisoners are burnt/asphyxiated/whatevered in an orderly queue. [-]
DocBrown, Sep 20 2005

       UnaBubba's point is well taken. However, very little of the prison would be flamable, so I don't think fire would be the reason why such a facility would require evacuation. The reason I envision for evacuation would be extremely severe whether, like strong hurricanes. (the building should be able to take a CAT 2 at least)   

       Also, the US has a very large number of non-violent criminals. A high rise prison would be great for non-violent drug offenders(the chokepoint would reduce smuggling of drugs into the building), and even if we change our laws one day to end the much-criticized war on drugs, the feds can still easily find 10k people to put in such a prison near any large city.
Madai, Sep 20 2005


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