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Designing the Future

In 2016, Impact Justice began exploring a role for architects in ending mass incarceration. We believe significant changes in the built environment are necessary to curb enforcement and confinement as responses to crime and to abolish prison as we know it.

Our Building Justice Project has focused on engaging emerging designers through collaborations with two leading schools of architecture: SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute for Architecture) and Yale University. Initial studios at both schools were led by legendary architect Frank Gehry and author and activist Susan Burton who founded A New Way of Life, a California-based organization run by and for formerly incarcerated women. These studios generated radical reimaginings of confinement in a not-too-distant future in which America incarcerates far fewer people in truly humane settings and are documented in the forthcoming film, Building Justice.

The collaboration with Yale continues. In fall 2018, all second-year students in the three-year Masters Program are designing a community justice center. Bridgeport, Middletown, and New London are the real-world sites for their designs, and their work is informed by local organizations in these communities and by restorative justice experts at Impact Justice and at the Tow Youth Justice Institute at the University of New Haven.