This article develops the notion that institutional places and spaces are layered with meaning and that their architecture and design have a profound psychological and physiological influence on those who live and work within them. Mindful of the intrinsic link between ‘beauty’ and ‘being just’, the article explores the potential ‘healing’ or rehabilitative role of penal aesthetics. As many countries modernise their prison estates, replacing older facilities that are no longer fit-for-purpose with new, more ‘efficient’ establishments, this article discusses examples of international best (and less good) practice in penal and hospital settings. It reflects on what those who commission and design new prisons might learn from pioneering design initiatives in healthcare environments and asks whether the philosophies underpinning the ‘architecture of hope’ that Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres exemplify could be incorporated into prisons of the future. The article was originally presented as a public lecture in the annual John V Barry memorial lecture series at the University of Melbourne on 24 November 2016.
Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Vol 51, Issue 3, 2018