Instant Jails

by Marion H. Hart, Asst. Ed.; Civil Engineering—ASCE, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 11, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Prison planners are responding to the explosion in the prison population by stepping up construction of new jails. Because of the pressures imposed by court ordered deadlines, engineers, architects and contractors must use construction materials and methods that allow for secure facilities and fast construction. A Tampa, Floridaa. A/E firm says precast concrete cell modules, designed to stack 10 to 12 high can save as much as 10 to 20% construction time. Because they are joint free, they also stand up better to inmate wear and tear. A Nashville, Tenn. firm that designs, builds, operates, and owns prisons used precast concrete, simple design and fast track developer style construction techniques to renovate and expand an old facility and add a permanent precast 175 room annex in 5 months. A San Jose, Calif. A/E firm shaved about a year off of the construction time for a 720 cell jail by using a combination of cast-in-place technology for the first four floors and precast concrete elements for the additional 10 stories. In New York City, a 30 year old ferry boat was converted into a 162 bed minimum security jail. A second ferry is about to join the first, moored off of Rikers Island, and New York City has closed a deal on a British troop barge used in the Falkland Islands that will also be used for cell space.

Subject Headings: Precast concrete | Construction methods | Construction materials | Concrete construction | Construction companies | Building design | Ferries | Islands | United States | New York City | New York | Tampa | Florida | Tennessee

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