Mobilong independent living units: new innovations in Australian prison architecture.
The recently commissioned independent living units at Mobilong Prison Mobilong Prison is an Australian low and medium security prison located at Murray Bridge, South Australia, Australia.
• • on the outskirts of Murray Bridge in South Australia South Australia, state (1991 pop. 1,236,623), 380,070 sq mi (984,381 sq km), S central Australia. It is bounded on the S by the Indian Ocean. Kangaroo Island and many smaller islands off the south coast are included in the state. represent new innovations in Australian prison architecture. For the first time, medium-security inmates will be housed in self-contained duplex accommodations, a stark contrast to traditional cellblocks used under typical medium-security systems.
Mobilong Prison is one of nine prisons operated by the Department for Correctional Services, South Australia, located throughout the region and housing a total average population of 1,500 inmates. South Australia's Department for Correctional Services provides a graduated prison system, with inmates progressing from high- to medium- to low-security prisons upon the completion of incentive-based programs targeting offending behavior.
The new development site is about four miles from the city of Murray Bridge, which has a population of 17,000 and is located about 50 miles from Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Mobilong Prison took its name from the original township name derived from the Aboriginal term for the area Moop-pol-tha-wong, meaning "haven for birds."
Making More Space
The original prison opened in 1987 as the first campus-style facility in Australia. Mobilong's new development consists of four L-shaped living units separated from operational support and training and industry buildings by village space. The prison is located on 124 acres, with an external perimeter enclosing 37 acres. Inmates in the medium-security system have access to most of the site. Each living unit was originally designed to accommodate 40 inmates. In 1996, because of the growing prison population, 20 cells were added to the living units, and double bunks Double Bunk is a 1961 British black-and-white comedy set on a houseboat, that stars Ian Carmichael and Sid James. Plot
When newlyweds Jack (Ian Carmichael) and Peggy (Janette Scott) face eviction from their rented London flat, they are tricked into buying a run were installed in 60 other cells, bringing the total population to 240 inmates.
In 2004, the Department for Correctional Services again needed to increase the capacity of the prison, but this time decided on a radical and innovative approach set to a new standard, operating within a limited budget and providing "top end" accommodation for inmates moving through the graduated system.
The resulting independent living units house an additional 50 inmates. The development comprises 10 duplex units arranged in pairs around a common space, with each unit containing five separate bedrooms, a shared living area, kitchen, bathroom and securable veranda area. These independent living units provide inmates in the later stages of their sentences greater autonomy and control over their lives, and encourage the development of social and living skills in a prison setting. Inmates living in the units assume responsibility for "normal" domestic duties such as meal preparation, ordering supplies, laundry and cleaning.
The design is domestic in nature. Research has shown that "hard" architecture and inflexible environments may result in displays of noncompliant and aggressive behavior among inmates. (1) The development has a human scale, with each duplex having subtle aesthetic variations through the use of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.
See also: Color to enable easy identification by the new occupants. The security elements are contained in the fabric of the building rather than displayed externally, and bars and security grills were eliminated from the design. Siting of the buildings uses principles from residential planning. They are arranged in groups of two, facing inward to a central court area, which has a garden and public telephones.
The architects, Thomson Rossi, attempted to minimize conflict within the group setting through the internal planning. The design avoids the use of long, continuous corridors typical in correctional facilities. Bedrooms (rather than cells) were placed at either side of the living area to minimize transitional spaces. Bedrooms are lockable to allow inmates personal space and privacy. The occupancy for each unit was set at five to allow group-voting processes to occur with minimal conflict.
Allowing occupants connection to the external environment was important to the design. Visual connection to external events in prison environments is essential to feelings of safety, control and well-being, and decreases disorientation disorientation /dis·or·i·en·ta·tion/ (-or?e-en-ta´shun) the loss of proper bearings, or a state of mental confusion as to time, place, or identity. through the increased ability to visualize the entire environment. Vertical windows allow a line of sight from ground to horizon to enable the occupant to observe and connect with the external environment. To further increase this connection, the vertical windows were repeated at intervals coming or happening with intervals between; now and then.
See also: Interval in the living areas, thus presenting the perception of a continuous view. Occupants also can continually access a small, enclosed external veranda area, allowing continued contact with the external environment during lockdown Lockdown
A specified period when an employee of a public company is barred from selling - and occasionally buying - their company's stock.
These types of equity transaction restrictions can be imposed by securities regulators or underwriting firms if a company has periods. This is expected to help inmates be more aware of climatic variations and surrounding nature and prison environments and events.
Efficient sustainable environmental development solutions and passive environmental principles were integral to the design. The buildings were orientated o·ri·en·tate
v. o·ri·en·tat·ed, o·ri·en·tat·ing, o·ri·en·tates
To orient: "He . . . along the east-west axis for solar radiation solar radiation,
n the emission and diffusion of actinic rays from the sun. Overexposure may result in sunburn, keratosis, skin cancer, or lesions associated with photosensitivity. . The building is constructed using reverse block veneer veneer (vənēr`), thin leaf of wood applied with glue to a panel or frame of solid wood. The art of veneer developed with early civilization. , where the block work is externally covered with insulated in·su·late
tr.v. in·su·lat·ed, in·su·lat·ing, in·su·lates
1. To cause to be in a detached or isolated position. See Synonyms at isolate.
2. lightweight cladding The plastic or glass sheath that is fused to and surrounds the core of an optical fiber. The cladding's mirror-like coating keeps the light waves reflected inside the core. The cladding is covered with a protective outer jacket. See fiber optics glossary. , thus reversing the traditional construction methods. The reverse block veneer allows the massing of thermal radiation thermal radiation
Process by which energy is emitted by a warm surface. The energy is electromagnetic radiation and so travels at the speed of light and does not require a medium to carry it. internally, reducing the need for heating and cooling options. Solar hot water Solar hot water refers to water heated by solar energy. Solar heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to its point of usage, and a reservoir or tank for heat storage and subsequent use. systems were installed in all units, and materials and finishes with low C[O.sub.2] emissions were chosen.
Ensuring Safety and Security
The project used recent Australian developments in safe cell design to reduce opportunities of death by hanging or fire, implementing design recommendations from the Victorian Building Design Review Project. (2) Obvious hanging points have been removed from bedrooms and bathrooms, all edges are rounded, all knobs and water taps are sloped, safety screws are used throughout, joints are sealed and lighting is recessed. The units are designed to reduce fire hazards through the provision of smoke detection sensors and alarms, additional exhaust equipment for smoke extraction and air circulation; and fire-rated walls, floors and ceilings. These provisions represent the first South Australian prison that meets the safety recommendations of the South Australian coroner.
Security measures Noun 1. security measures - measures taken as a precaution against theft or espionage or sabotage etc.; "military security has been stepped up since the recent uprising"
security for a medium-security system were an important factor of the design, and the units needed to have a capacity for inmates to be locked down without risk of escape. Outer walls of the units are designed to a medium-security standard, using corrugated cor·ru·gate
v. cor·ru·gat·ed, cor·ru·gat·ing, cor·ru·gates
To shape into folds or parallel and alternating ridges and grooves.
v.intr. pre-treated color finished steel sheeting and steel-reinforced concrete block work to provide a secure internal building envelope A building envelope is the separation between the interior and the exterior environments of a building. It serves as the outer shell to protect the indoor environment as well as to facilitate its climate control. for the containment of inmates during lockdowns. Vertical windows with openings of approximately 5 inches were used to preclude escape. However, the development provides a key humane advancement to the typical medium-security system. Generally, inmates are locked down in individual cells within larger units. In this development, occupants will be confined in the individual units rather than a constrictive constrictive
restricting movement or dilatation of an organ. cell, allowing continued social contact and some degree of normal living. The lockdowns may be less intrusive on the inmates, but safety and security issues have been addressed. Correctional staff can continue to conduct normal night safety and security checks without entering the units. External hatches are used in lieu of traditional cell door traps to provide visual access to the bedroom areas with little or no disruption to the inmates.
Putting the Pieces Together
The project relied on an intensive consultation process that provided documentation. A working group, comprising local Mobilong and Department for Correctional Services staff, worked with architects, an interior designer and a project manager. The design team used two- and three-dimensional imaging and modelling to initiate a participatory process within the working group and to inform the group of the design process.
Operating a construction site in a fully occupied and functioning prison presents considerable logistical, operational and security issues for both management and construction. Providing vehicular access through the main sallyport would have resulted in restricted access, continual security checks and extra staffing, with delays and added construction costs. This problem was resolved by isolating the work site from the rest of the prison with security fencing containing detection and deterrence capacities and the erection of a second security gate. The new entrance allowed construction workers unencumbered Unencumbered
Property that is not subject to any creditor claims or liens.
For example, if a house is owned free and clear (meaning the owner owes no mortgage to anyone), it is unencumbered. access, and prison operations proceeded normally. Upon completion, the new development was integrated into the prison campus, and the second gate was retained to provide emergency egress See ingress. .
Commissioning new prison facilities generally presents considerable challenges for staff and inmates. Unfamiliar operational procedures The detailed methods by which headquarters and units carry out their operational tasks. , opposition to change and new environments often make the commissioning periods difficult. These periods may be subject to staff opposition, industrial disputes and displays of resistance behaviors from inmates. The construction of the new facility adjacent to Mobilong was under the continuous gaze of its staff and inmates, allowing them to become accustomed to the new development and even providing considerable diversion from normal prison life. Inmates displayed considerable interest, prompting a series of meetings during the construction phase to discuss the allocation and operation of the new facility. The extended participatory consultation process with architects allowed Mobilong correctional staff to contribute to the finished design, increasing "ownership" and knowledge about the independent living units. The process also allowed staff and management to review and modify existing operational procedures pragmatically during the construction phase. The commissioning of the independent living units will be closely considered as a possible precedent to alleviate disruption of staff and inmates in the building of new facilities.
The independent living units at Mobilong represent a new alternative to the traditional cell facility and demonstrate the Department for Correctional Services' aims to create safe, secure, humane and respectful environments that meet the needs of inmates. The new facility has the capacity to ameliorate a·mel·io·rate
tr. & intr.v. a·me·lio·rat·ed, a·me·lio·rat·ing, a·me·lio·rates
To make or become better; improve. See Synonyms at improve.
[Alteration of meliorate. the prison experience and support positive change and is likely to be taken up as a cost-effective alternative to traditional prison facility options, both interstate and overseas.
(1) American Correctional Association The American Correctional Association is an association of providers of services to prisons in the United States. It holds an annual trade show where products used in prisons are shown to prospective purchasers.
It was formerly known as the American Prison Association. . 1990. Causes, preventive measures and methods of controlling riots and disturbances in correctional institutions. Laurel, Md.: American Correctional Association.
Sommer Sommer is a surname, from the German and Danish word for the season "summer".
It may refer to:
tr.v. hu·man·ized, hu·man·iz·ing, hu·man·iz·es
1. To portray or endow with human characteristics or attributes; make human: humanized the puppets with great skill.
2. it. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall.
(2) Department of Justice. 2003. Cell and fire safety guidelines. Melbourne, Australia: ARUP, Australasia.
Elizabeth Grant lectures at the University of Adelaide's School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, and is a research scholar at that institution and the School of Geography, Planning and Architecture at the University of Queensland The University of Queensland (UQ) is the longest-established university in the state of Queensland, Australia, a member of Australia's Group of Eight, and the Sandstone Universities. It is also a founding member of the international Universitas 21 organisation. . She is currently completing doctoral research determining occupant needs and preference in prison design.