‘Building Justice: The Future of Prison Design’ was the theme of the Melbourne Archiflex 2020 festival, which focused on the redesign of prisons, keeping in mind the need to humanise the prisoner experience.

The festival addressed the question of how prisons could be redesigned to help inmates keep their sense of humanity intact, which could ultimately reduce the recidivism rates Australia wide.

The increasing trend of recidivism is a modern day challenge not just in Australia, but also globally. Higher recidivism rates Australia wide have resulted in prison operating expenditure almost doubling to $3.2 billion since 2013 (CEDA: 2019).

How can recidivism rates be reduced? Previously facility managers have attempted rehabilitation practices such as placing televisions to humanise the prison experience. Unfortunately, more hostile inmates have been known to damage the television, making it an inefficient way to manage the rehabilitation process (Corrections Queensland: 2019).

Enware Australia, which was a sponsor for the Melbourne Archiflex event, has developed a solution called the Custodian range, designed to provide individual control and comfort while balancing the facility manager’s priorities of safety and security.

Enware’s Custodian range of secure bathroom solutions is specifically built to withstand potentially violent acts from offenders, benefitting both inmates and correctional facility staff. These products can create a much more homely experience than before for inmates. Ultimately, this will ensure that the transition from prison to society is a natural process for the convicted offenders.

Correctional staff will also benefit as the Custodian range is complemented by Enware’s Smart Flow Water Management System. This will allow correctional staff to electronically control and monitor the water temperature in each prison cell remotely without the need for staff to enter an inmate’s cell, thereby ensuring the physical safety of the staff member while maintaining an emphasis on prisoner rehabilitation through design.

During the 2020 Melbourne Archiflex festival, legendary architect Frank Ghery wondered what prisons would look like if people treated other people like human beings. With Enware’s Custodian range, the future of prison design would be one that helps inmates keep their sense of humanity intact as part of the rehabilitation process. Indeed, providing products and services that support the rehabilitation process would be a small step in reducing recidivism rates Australia wide.