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Mobilong Independent Living Units: New Innovations in Australian Prison Architecture

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Magazine Volume: 68 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2006 Pages: 58-61
Elizabeth Grant
Date Published
June 2006
4 pages
This article describes the design of the new Mobilong Prison in South Australia, the first medium-security security prison to house inmates in self-contained duplexes.
In 2004, when the Department for Correctional Services recognized the need to expand the Mobilong prison facility, it decided to undertake radical and innovative changes to set a new standard for correctional facilities. The resulting correctional facility development contains 10 duplex housing units that have 5 bedrooms arranged around a common living space that includes a kitchen, bathroom, and securable veranda area. Five inmates live in each duplex to allow for group voting processes. Inmates living in the duplexes assume responsibility for meal preparation, ordering supplies, laundry, and cleaning. The development uses efficient sustainable environmental development solutions and passive environmental principles, such as vertical windows to allow for a connection to the external environment and solar hot water systems. The buildings, which are oriented along the east-west axis for solar radiation, are arranged around a court area that has a garden and public telephones. The facility meets the safe cell design recommendations of the Victorian Building Design Review Project and includes touches such as recessed lighting, sloped knobs and water taps, and rounded edges. Safety features include the use of steel sheeting and steel-reinforced concrete block work and vertical windows with openings of approximately 5 inches to preclude a window escape. The duplex design of the Mobilong Prison represents a new alternative to the traditional cell block facilities and demonstrates the capacity to create humane and secure correctional environments. Photographs, endnotes