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From Arizona to South Carolina: Transfer of a Prison Design Model

NCJ Number
Date Published
7 pages
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Construction Information Exchange program allowed prison officials in South Carolina to adapt plans prepared for a Federal prison in Arizona, thereby eliminating several costly and time-consuming steps required by the conventional approach to prison construction.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has developed a standardized design model that employs a direct supervision, or barrier-free architecture for inmate population management. The key to this approach is human interaction between staff and inmates. The Phoenix Federal Correctional Institution, which uses a "campus" design, represents the current model for the Bureau of Prisons. This design combines all the advantages of the direct supervision philosophy with recent construction innovations. Following its adoption of the direct supervision philosophy, the South Carolina Department of Corrections began to look for a design for a new prison housing unit. Although the Phoenix FCI model was chosen, some adaptations were made. This experience has made sharing prison designs a feasible alternative for jurisdictions requiring new construction. Despite several disadvantages to design transfer including institutional objectives and cost of adaptation, the benefits are many, relating to time, costs, operations, adaptability, and staff utilization.

Date Published: January 1, 1990