Below we list some of the many comments we have received from petition signers:
Architects, designers and related professionals can lead the way in shaping the kinds of buildings, environments, and communities we create -- the ADPSR campaign is an example of leading through example.
Lisa S. Sullivan, San Francisco, CA
Being banned from society is not always the answer. Some individuals should be given the chance to gain they're productivity back through education, consuling and work programs. After DNA tests were proven to be false in some crime labs in this country, the media has brought it to our attention that, in fact, innocent people have been locked up for years and put to death for no reason at all. Some were freed, others are gone forever. So what right? What if it was you're kid? What a waste.
Rob Ambrosino, Houston, TX
[I imagine] a prison system that is not about punishment or vengence, but one that that focuses on rehabilitation in every situation possible. One that focuses on treatment for possession or use of illegal substances. A justice system that does away with the death penalty, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and does not impose a life sentence for a non-violent third offense. A society that addresses the root causes of crime, such as poverty, unequal access to quality education, racial and ethnic bias, and all forms of social injustice.
Martin Hammer, Architect, Berkeley, CA
Build schools not prisons, Build housing not prisons. Build less and re-use more...
Jeffrey Orling, Architect, Mount Vernon, NY
Build schools, not jails
Peter Rockwell, Principal, San Francisco, CA
Consider coupling rehabilitation with meaningful job training.
Thomas Maiorana, San Francisco, CA
Dangerous criminals should be segregated from society. Drug users should not. End this stupid "drug war" and start using our resources for the good of society, not the good of the hard-line politicians.
Stephanie Willoughby, Catawba, VA
Design and architecture are inherently political. By participating in the design of a prison (or juvenile correction center), an individual becomes culpable for being a tool of a judicial system which has only a punitive, not a reformative and rehabilitative purpose. It would be beneficial if there was a parallel campaign to this one, such as "I pledge to design/build more youth and community centers, schools and parks." Perhaps we could convince developers of the advantages of community design/planning/building if we (designers and architects) spun the statistics as rigorously as they do to get financing for their projects. Thank you.
Rhea Vaflor, Interior designer, Washington, DC
Education is less expensive than incarceration. Educate first and lessen incarceration. If they are incarcerated then educate. Society cannot tolerate the expense of incarceration, the compromised safety or the loss of an educated mind. Educate, not incarcerate!
Ron Bishop, AIA, Oakland, CA
I commend the work of this campaign, and I hope that it spreads awareness of the troubles plaguing the most important part of the justice system.
Brian Thompson, Raleigh, NC
I feel this is a huge topic that is never covered in the press. Keep up the good work.
Wade Vernon, Cardiff, CA
I have felt very strongly about this issue ever since these prisons started popping up everywhere. Its obvious that this is a very short-sighted decision being made.We should be building schools and low-income housing that are sustainable and healthy and generating a healthy,and productive population of people instead of using these draconian projections and breaking down segments of population. This has been a nightmare that must end and allow architects of depth and breadth to create spaces that ennoble the human spirit or in the least respect the human condition and its need to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those words almost seem like they where uttered in a fairy tale with the present state of affairs instead of being the very words this country was founded upon. This is a tragedy of the human spirit and it must change.
Mrs. Leslie Peretsky,.Edmonds, WA
I worked on a prison as my first professional assignment and all I can say is "YUCK!" and I was young and didn't know any better... After 5 years of professional estrangement, I am sorting out my feelings surrounding that experience and realizing that I may yet have a contribution to architecture that is not SO destructive to other people and SO professionally humiliating.
Joel Miller, Randolph Center, VT I would like to see a system does not put people in jail for possession of drugs for one, and secondly supports opportunities for drug rehabilitation. Beyond that I would like to support interventions as early as head start that give people opportunities that make crime less appealing.
Joyce Plath, Designer, Arcata, CA
I'm not saying that no one should go to jail. If you break the law then you should have to pay. But when you see the same people going in and out of overcrowded jails you have to stop and think that there is something going on that is wrong. I am no where near being qualified to say that I have an answer to the problem as I am a student and have not had any experiance except for design studio. I do not think that design is the final solution We will eventually have to work with politicians, pyshcologists, and many other people so we can finally get this problem under control. Its sad to see someone get thrown in jail for a petty crime and come out worse than they were in the beginning. In a society that seems to think that they need to set an example for the rest of the world they are not doing a good job. Because the system that was put in place to reform law breakers only seems to make the problem worse. We will eventually have to combine many different professions to cure this problem. Not just designers.
Justin Newcomb, Houston, TX
Inspiring in it's stand for humanity, this campaign inspries my imagination toward a collective voice of "No!" to a whole range of oppressive institutions.
Riman Robert, Student, Cambridge, MA
Instead throwing public-money away, we must invest in the building the foundation of the future, i.e. building more schools, libraries, and help less-fortunates receive a minimum education.
Siamak Shahneshin, AIA, SIA, Kilchberg, ZH
It is time to move away from isolated strategies of planning and design and towards more systemic principles that can integrate our communities' physical, cultural, social, educational, organizational, and economic resources to enhance equity and justice for everyone.
Steven Bingler, Chairman, New Orleans, LA
It may sound too simple but I strongly believe that if we invest the money spent on prisons on education instead we would all be much better off. Let us invest in education and cultural programs to inspire our youth and fellow citizens to find a fulfilling role in society. This will be for the benefit of all.
Shawn Berry, Member, San Francisco, CA
JOB TRAINING EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION
Ilaria Salvadori, Designer, San Francisco, CA
People who resort to crime and later imprisonment are usually desperate because they have lost the hope of finding the way to earn for a livable sustainable lifestyle. Most of these people don't know how, and it's up to us to give them chance cards - lots of patience and opportunities. So as to teach them how to have self worth, and ways of learning how to earn for themselves without resorting to crime. Prisons just hide them from the opportunities they could have had... and the next person could just as well be you behind those bars...
Ms. Stella Tan, Victoria, Australia, VI - Australia
Prison will not fix our problems. We need ealry childhood prevention programs to interrupt the cycle of violecne and poverty. Quit killing people in my name and "teach the children well."
Patrick Hayes, Green Building Specialist, Oakland, CA
prisons are about retribution which doesnot create healing and growth. i wupport healing
James Bill, San Anselmo, CA
Provide free education and job training, free health care, adequate funding for schools, free child care, decimminalize drug use but provide counseling, provide living wage jobs for everyone, then lock up only dangerous violent offendors
A. George Beeler, Principal Architect, Petaluma, CA
Rehabilitation needs to be just that. Although it's hard to teach some old dogs new tricks, the effort must be made to do so. And there are plenty of new pups entering the system daily. We have that responsibility to provide now what we didn't provide early on - good education for kids and their parents not based on property taxes, a social system that knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a megaton of cure. Mentoring, medical and transportation systems that allow those on the bottom to stay on the right track and not revert to survival mode. Our responsibility is NOT to build mere warehouses that fuel the politics of prison gang life and force prisoners to remain or even regress deeper into survival mode. Our responsibility is to PREVENT the problems that lead to prison. Not through merging church and state and not through "fear of jail" because those things don't work. And once our efforts to prevent fail, our responsibility is to nurse or at least detoxify our failed neighbors back to health in a prison society that rehabilitates rather than warehouses. Politics of gang life and prison hierarchy must be removed - just like in public schools - so that we can resume where we left off with adults who stopped getting at some point the learning and nurturing they should have gotten all along. You can't teach an old dog new tricks UNLESS the old dog has a sense of safety and motivation who can turn off survival mode and go into learning, loving and contributing mode.
Mike Cohn, Hayward, CA
Rehabilitation, community service,etc.
Joanne Ferguson, Sheffield Lake, OH
Simply repeal the laws which make nonviolent drug-use offenders in jail and instead spend the money on treatment and education in the communities where they live.
Jody Beck, Architect, Houston, TX
Socially, I see a trend in more and more prisons atempt to incorporate more socialization of prisoners whether it be T.V. watching, weightrooms, etc. I see this as a huge mistake, as most prisoners come out with a broader criminal based social network. As opposed to others who may post here, I believe prisons SHOULD be designed for extreme and simplistic solitude, to provoke reflection and contimplation. But, as opposed to many contemporary designs which evoke stark ominance, and harsh, painful reflextion, we should take our que from the uplifting and gentle simplicity and solitude of monastic architecture.
Brent Bucknum, Research & Design, Carmel Valley , CA
Support education, not prisons.
Harold Fredenburgh AIA, New York, NY
Sustainable Design is as much about creating a healthy and just society as it is about creating a healthy and diverse environment. We need to "daylight" the forces that are putting so many vital and potentially productive young people in prison and get to work creating a better world while we have time.
Mark Rylander, Charlottesville, VA
Take responsibility. Our creations help direct society- for better or worse.
Alan Moring, Norman, OK
Thank you and God bless this work! Real fast, my thoughts on prison alternatives are 1) No victim, no prison time. 2) Inmates have their own walled rooms and do not ever talk to other inmates or even the guards. 3) Visitors may come 24/7, but visit is closely monitored. 4) All furniture and everything used by inmates are to come from donations/thrift stores. 5) Inmates may have access to every kind of medium, as long as it is either positive or neutral in nature. 6) All work is voluntary and time is taken off sentence in equal amounts of work accomplished, and can only include work for the prison or community service. As it is now, and as you know, guards feel it is their job to punish inmates, and the "Prison guard/Prisoner Mentality" is so.. Common knowledge, we must act on that knowledge and understand that caging a person from their life really is punishment enough. Please tell me if you can - what was the study done that proved that guards turn sadistic real easily? Thank you. Please add me to any email alerts/newsletters you may put out, and thanks again for taking a stand for humanity. Most Sincerely, Mrs. Melanie Marshall
Melanie Marshall, Anti-Prohibitionist, Monterey, CA
Thank you for making a stand on genuine conscience. There is alot of phony morality and what Harry Edwards calls, "religiosity" out there. Also, contact the Oakland mayor Jerry Brown. I heard him lecture once about the economics of prisons and why, he discovered it was worth more to the economy to lock-up a person than it was to give them an entry level job.
Jay Jacobson, Owner, Napa, CA
Thank you for taking a stand on the issue of "Prisons". I suddenly find a great deal of pride in being an architect once again. Rather than "Prisons" what about affordable housing, rebuilding cities, schools, hospitals, etc., etc. In other words, lets get back to dealing with the positive solutions to ills of this society. VTY Joseph Raggio
Joseph Raggio, Architect, Delmar, NY
the most effective way for us to address the prison problem is to work for social equity. this is not to say that prisons are at all necesary; it is only to say that the problems of criminal behavior are best dealt with through prevention, and this is done by caring for all members of our society.
David White, Guilford, CT
This campaign is a crucial stepping stone towards the abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S.
Juan Calaf, San Francisco, CA
This is long overdue. The AIA's own code of ethics (section E.S.1.4 Human Rights) states that members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors. It's an outrage that architects have not been taken to task for their own complicity in the creation of nothing less than legalized torture chambers.
Karl MacRae, Home Inspector, CA
To become a more healthy society, we need to develop and encourage methods and treatments that reduce the rate of incarceration. As long as America maintains these staggering levels of prison population, construction, and drain on our resources, we cannot truly be called free. This disturbing trend, indeed, makes us all prisoners of a sick system.
Brad Will, Principal, Stone Ridge, NY
Too many people are incarcerated for "lesser" crimes such as personal drug use and posession. Prison space should be reserved for serious criminals who pose a danger to themselves and others, not for average americans who chose to occasionally use recreational drugs.
Tania Garbe, Winter Park, FL
We need residential programs for at risk kids, drug users, mental health patients, people leaving prisons, homless, and the poor. This will reduce the need for more prisons.
Claudia Cleaver, Principal, Petaluma, CA.
Copyright 2004 ADPSR unless otherwise noted.