The Forced Imposition of Architecture: Prison Design for Indigenous Peoples in the USA and Canada

  • Elizabeth Grant


The mass incarceration of Indigenous peoples is a worldwide phenomenon. Disproportionately, high numbers of Indigenous people are confined in prisons. The growing number of Indigenous people in prison systems and their treatment is deeply distressing as, simply put, the experience of prison causes immeasurable suffering and damage to individuals, families and communities. This chapter discusses the design of prisons for Indigenous prisoners in the USA and Canada. It argues that designing congruent environments for Indigenous peoples may not be enough while criminal justice agencies continue to operate under punitive agendas. It recommends that human rights instruments should be translated into prison design and Indigenous people and communities be given cultural agency in prison design and planning processes, as well as their management and operation.



I would like to thank Associate Professor Lorana Bartels for her useful commentary on this chapter. Transdisciplinary work with Professor Bronwyn Naylor and Dr Rohan Lulham has enabled me to develop greater understandings of the human rights and psychological aspects of imprisonment. I would like to thank them for their willingness to work enthusiastically and collegially on this topic.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Design The Univerisity of CanberraCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of ArchitectureThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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