A San Francisco architect named Raphael Sperry is trying to get his fellow professionals to sign a boycott saying that they refuse to build any more prisons. The San Francisco Chronicle tells the story:
At a recent forum on his boycott at the American Institute of Architects' San Francisco office, he told the nearly all-white audience of the racial disparity in prisons and brought out PowerPoint charts and graphs about crowded conditions.
So, he wants to solve the problem of “crowded conditions” by refusing to build more prisons? That makes a hell of a lot of sense.
Sperry has support among other bay area prison reformers:
"It's great that the people who are designing these prisons feel that they shouldn't be built," said Braz, one of several prison reform advocates whom Sperry consulted. "Because you know, if they build them, somebody will fill them."
That’s right. Whenever cops notice there is extra room in the prison they just start rounding people up at random so they can cram them into empty cells. There’s nothing that annoys cops more than seeing a prison with the “no vacancy” sign unlit.
Some architects disagree with Sperry and say it’s a better idea to just try to make more humane prisons. Frank Green, a New York architect whose firm designs “detention buildings,” says that a better approach is to use, in the words of the Chronicle, “pod designs, better lighting and other inside-architecture flourishes for prisons.”
While this makes more sense than Sperry’s silly maunderings I’m not sure that murderers deserve good lighting and architectural flourishes. Green’s ideas remind me of the scene in Everyone Says I Love You where Goldie Hawn gives a speech to a group of prison guards trying to convince them that prisoners should have access to interior decorators to help them spruce up their cells.
My plan for prison reform? Reintroduce the cat ‘o nine-tails.