Raymond Giolitto Speaks About Prison Design at Wesleyan University

Cheshire Correctional Center - Cell Block

Cheshire Correctional Center Cell Block

NCA Principal Raymond A. Giolitto, AIA, LEED AP recently spoke about prison design at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Ray donated his honorarium to the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education.

Ray has helped design twelve correctional facilities ranging in levels of security from level 1 to level 5. Some of his projects include facilities located in Danbury, Bridgeport, and Cheshire, Connecticut.

Ray’s presentation was part of the curriculum for an undergraduate course entitled, “TechnoPrisons: Corrections, Technology, and Society.” The course introduces basic concepts within science and technology studies, sociology, and criminology to investigate how prison happens. Additionally, the course examines the theory that prisons are technologies, which means that prisons operate as an architectural structure that is designed to hold people captive within enclosed physical spaces. At the same time, prisons are the location for multiple kinds of social closure made possible through technological systems including surveillance systems, media representations, biomedical technologies, classification and administrative technologies, and military technologies.

Commenting on his extensive experience in prison design, Rays, says, “When I first began to design prisons, I had some soul-searching to do: I had to think about the whole aspect of incarceration, its societal issues, the fact that we still had capital punishment and if I could make a positive impact through architecture on the inmates’ lives.”

He adds, that while researching and navigating the complexities of prison design, “I was struck by what my architecture has to do:

  • protect inmates from themselves (depression, anxiety, despair)
  • protect inmates from each other, especially in prison dormitory situations
  • protect the staff and the inmates from each other
  • safety of the visitors.”
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