Visible Atonement through transforming America's Prisons
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The prison system in the United States is a disgrace, adversely affecting disadvantaged or minority populations as a continuing form of oppression. It has reached such a scale that over two million people are currently in prison, with black or Latino people making up over 60 percent. The out-of-control mass incarceration movement since 1980 has left a substantial mark on the landscape through an explosion of prison construction. However, as of 2009 that trend is reversing and the prison population is shrinking. As we, as a nation, move away from incarceration, how do we address these expansive prison buildings and campuses in a way that can better contribute to our society? Instead of ignoring or demolishing prisons, we can transform them, giving them new meaning while remembering those that the prison system harmed. In this way, prisons become symbols of atonement, an exercise that America has rarely practiced but needs to be incorporated into our traditions and memory.
- Architecture