Miami County Security Center, Peru, Indiana

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Parrish, Charles R.
Costello, Anthony J.
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Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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In any society that does not exist in an ideal form there is evidence of social deviation. The increasing crime rate in the United States is a symptom of a society which has been unsuccessful in the control of social deviation, a society deficient in the areas of criminal justice and corrections. There is an increasing awareness that the problem of the criminal individual in society cannot be resolved through correctional institutions alone. These institutions have been proven ineffective and even counteractive with respect to the integration of a criminal offender into society as a self-sufficient and productive participant. Advancements in the design and operation of correctional institutions must be accompanied by advancements in the entire criminal justice system. Steps must also be taken to eliminate social conditions such as poverty, disease, unemployment, and lack of equality due to racial discrimination as well. Architecture, and more specifically correctional architecture can play a major role with respect to the positive or negative response of an offender to a correctional environment. There are presently three basic types of structures related to correctional architecture: lockups, detention facilities, and correctional facilities. Lockups, or holding cells, are security facilities for the temporary confinement of persons held for preliminary hearings and investigation following arrest. Lockups are usually operated by local police departments, and confinement usually exceed 48 hours. Detention facilities, or jails, house both pretrial and sentenced offenders. Detention facilities are usually operated by the county sheriff's department. Correctional institutions, or prisons, are security facilities for convicted offenders serving sentences. Of the three basic types of facilities, detention facilities often represent the offender's first contact with the criminal justice system, and an excellent opportunity for the designer to create an environment which will have a positive effect upon the attitude andbehavior of the offender. Most existing jails have plans which have changed very little since the 17th century. They were designed mainly for the high-security offender, and were successful only in the punishment of the offender, and the temporary protection of society. In modern society, a detention facility may house offenders who may be alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, mentally ill individuals, felons and misdemeanants. Few existing facilities can meet the needs of such diverse jail populations, and have a negative effect upon the reintegration of the offender into the community. These facilities often are overdesigned in terms of security systems which have dominated the architectural program and the facility design. The architect is faced with the challenge of designing a facility which recognizes the identity, rights, and needs of confined individuals, and also maintains security in a restrained and subtle manner. The facility must be integrated functionally and visually into the community setting.