Raphael Sperry

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR): Prohibit the design of spaces for killing, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Architects cell IIAn article by Raphael Sperry, president of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, a nonprofit group which advocates for socially responsible design. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and a Soros Justice Fellow.

“…Despite years of advocacy and formal requests, the AIA — which claims as its members a majority of the roughly 110,000 architects in the United States — has officially declined to add specific language to its code of ethics that would prohibit the design of torture chambers in U.S. prisons and around the world…Yes, the prisons at Guantanamo had architects. The design of Camp 6 was based on the Lenawee County, Michigan, jail, according to its architect…It’s also about the design of spaces in more conventional prisons intended for prolonged solitary confinement: a practice roundly regarded as a form of torture by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture…  Here in the United States, about 20,000 people are held in solitary confinement in one of 45 or so specially designed “supermax” prisons, and some 60,000 more are held in “segregation wings” and “security housing units” in state prisons and “the hole” in county jails. While architects cannot be held responsible for unintended uses of the spaces they design, the intention of most of these spaces is clear from the get-go. The use of remote-controlled doors, individualized cellular “recreation yards” and solid cell fronts with special pass-through slots are all architectural features that enable and deepen isolation, leading inexorably to psychological pain. Half of all prison suicides happen to the approximately 4% of people in solitary confinement. Architecture facilitates this suffering and these deaths…”Architects cell

Read the article HERE

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About

Prison activist and editor. Currently preparing a book on the introduction of maximum security prisons in Belgium and Europe, including the practice of solitary confinement. In 2008, Luk started the Belgian Prisoners' Family & Friends Association. (http://familiesfriendsassociation.blogspot.be/ In 2009, with Farida Aarrass he launched the Campaign Free Ali Aarrass (www.freeali.eu ). In 2012 he organised the Committee of the Families of European detainees in Morocco (http://prisonnierseuropeensaumaroc.blogspot.be/). Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011). Contributions : « Etats généraux sur les conditions carcérales en Europe : La condition pénitentiaire, regards belges, français et européens"» (2010, éditions MGER) ; « The violence of incarceration: a response from mainland Europe »(2010, Race & Class) ; « Gevangenissen: spiegel van onze samenleving » (2013, MO Mondiaal Nieuws) Publishing house : www.antidote.be


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