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Healthy Prison Design Facilities

ICPA promotes healthy prison or institutional environments that should meet basic human physical and psychological needs. These include the most basic (shelter and protection from the elements, food and sanitation) but prisoners should also feel safe, maintain contact with the outside community, have privacy, and avoid and cope with everyday stresses. To ensure this, prison administration and health services should require that effective and humane architectural and engineering design of all prisons and other correctional confinement facilities provide for the following:

  • Prison design, materials, furniture and fixtures should support normalisation of the environment and reduce tendencies toward institutionalisation.
  • Cells or sleeping areas should provide sufficient space for needed use, including basic facilities (bed, desk, etc.) and sufficient unencumbered space for movement and basic exercise;
  • Openness and layout of housing areas should support dynamic and direct supervision, and frequent contact and interaction between prisoners and staff;
  • Housing should provide opportunities for privacy – defined as ability to exert control over contact and interactions with others; privacy means being able to close off and screen out view at times, being able to find space for social interaction; being able to remove self from others. Wherever possible this should include being able to engage in personal functions without public view (sleep, study, toilet, shower) and without the need to request intervention from staff;
  • In general prisoners should have:
    • conditions that promote good quantity and quality of sleep, including privacy, low noise levels, low levels of lighting;
    • access to natural light as much as possible during day – and high quality /high intensity electric light during the day; and dark at night for sleeping – with ability to control lighting;
    • access to outdoors and, as much as practical views of and contact with nature (sky, grass, trees, plants);
    • access to food that is nutritious and fits their cultural heritage;
    • access to safe and clean drinking water;
    • the ability to access opportunities for physical exercise;
    • access to medical care;
    • places where they can focus on work or study without disturbance;
    • access to in-person visiting;
    • good air quality and temperatures appropriate for activity and clothing;
    • access to means of coping with stress, including privacy and contact with appropriate staff.

This founding statement of ICPA was approved by the ICPA Board on 7 July 2017 and ratified by the members of the Corporation on the Annual General Meeting Montreal 23 October 2018.