Should Architects Refrain From Designing Prisons for Long-term Solitary Confinement? – An Open Letter to the Architecture Profession

Tom Spector
Oklahoma State University
In a profile in the November, 2012 issue of the magazine Architect, activist-architect Raphael Sperry, a founder of the group Architects Planners & Designers for Social Responsibility discussed his petition to amend the AIA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to include a prohibition on “the design of spaces intended for long-term solitary isolation and execution.”1 This issue is both serious and timely. It deserves contemplative attention before any action is taken. The purpose of this letter is to provide the the architecture profession a condensed analysis of the possible justification for taking the action Mr. Sperry advocates. After review and consideration, we are persuaded that Mr. Sperry’s proposal does merit action by the AIA.
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