Jailhouse Design

by Paul Tarricone, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 3, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


According to statistics from national corrections groups, the inmate population in the U.S. has reached 1 million and could double by 1995. With the constant need for more beds, engineers are cashing in on a nationwide building frenzy, but the emotionalism of the issue belies the intricacy of prison design. Experts agree there is more to prison design and construction than simply warehousing inmates. The big house depicted in old gangster movies has become a cliche. Now, fast-track construction, cost, building materials, aesthetics, design, the NIMBY (Not-in-my-backyard) factor, and even who does the labor, are all part of the equation. But security is always the chief concern. As a result, engineers routinely encounter and must overcome problems unique to prison design and construction.

Subject Headings: Building design | Construction management | Construction materials | Statistics | Human factors | Residential buildings | Fast track construction | Construction costs

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