THE DETENTION HOUSE

The detention house

When many small detention houses are located in the community, and differ from each other they can provide the right context for each individual. These three principles are connected and reinforce each other.

The detention house

When many small detention houses are located in the community, and differ from each other they can provide the right context for each individual. These three principles are connected and reinforce each other.

The detention house

When many small detention houses are located in the community, and differ from each other they can provide the right context for each individual. These three principles are connected and reinforce each other.

THE CONCEPT

SMALL-SCALE

At RESCALED size is a means, not an end. The size shall never compromise the sense of closeness and belonging, so that people are not reduced to numbers. Research on Norwegian prisons suggests that both incarcerated people and staff experience a better quality of life in small-scale facilities. And a better quality of life has, in turn, been linked to an increased chance of a successful return.  A detention house is small. Except in rare high-risk cases, people in detention live a communal life. They take responsibility for daily tasks and negotiate the tensions that come with living with others. Because detention houses are much smaller and less bureaucratically organized than prisons, staff and people in detention develop better relations. Such a personal approach ensures better dynamic security and enables the crafting of tailor-made reintegration trajectories.

SMALL-SCALE

At RESCALED size is a means, not an end. The size shall never compromise the sense of closeness and belonging, so that people are not reduced to numbers. Research on Norwegian prisons suggests that both incarcerated people and staff experience a better quality of life in small-scale facilities. And a better quality of life has, in turn, been linked to an increased chance of a successful return.  A detention house is small. Except in rare high-risk cases, people in detention live a communal life. They take responsibility for daily tasks and negotiate the tensions that come with living with others. Because detention houses are much smaller and less bureaucratically organized than prisons, staff and people in detention develop better relations. Such a personal approach ensures better dynamic security and enables the crafting of tailor-made reintegration trajectories.

THE CONCEPT

DIFFERENTIATION

Because detention houses are small and there are many of them, they can provide the right housing for each individual to fulfill his or her potential. This is what differentiation means: placing people in the best context according to needs and conditions that fit the incarcerated person. Namely providing the right security level and offering services, activities and programs that fit the needs of the residents. The high security levels that characterize large prisons are only required for very few individuals. For the majority of incarcerated persons such a high level of security is unnecessary. Besides, a low-security facility is cheaper to build and operate compared to a high-security facility. At the same time, it is inevitably more challenging to prepare for reintegration in a high-security facility. Incarceration at the right conditions is therefore a more cost-effective solution, which will also facilitate the process to be a valuable member in society – for the person who is incarcerated and for society.

DIFFERENTIATION

Because detention houses are small and there are many of them, they can provide the right housing for each individual to fulfill his or her potential. This is what differentiation means: placing people in the best context according to needs and conditions that fit the incarcerated person. Namely providing the right security level and offering services, activities and programs that fit the needs of the residents. The high security levels that characterize large prisons are only required for very few individuals. For the majority of incarcerated persons such a high level of security is unnecessary. Besides, a low-security facility is cheaper to build and operate compared to a high-security facility. At the same time, it is inevitably more challenging to prepare for reintegration in a high-security facility. Incarceration at the right conditions is therefore a more cost-effective solution, which will also facilitate the process to be a valuable member in society – for the person who is incarcerated and for society.

THE CONCEPT

COMMUNITY-INTEGRATION

Detention houses are not isolated. People in detention houses make use of services available in the community and add value to the neighbourhood and society. This builds mutual involvement and responsibility. Detention houses are not isolated from society but interact with the community. This is a dynamic interaction. Detention houses collaborate with local social workers, doctors, teachers, and sports coaches, as well as local governments, municipalities and volunteers from the community. Thus, people in detention houses make use of the same service providers (teachers, psychologists, trainers, coaches, etc.) as everyone else in the neighbourhood. In low-security detention houses, they can even go out to meet their service providers. As a result, they get to know the service providers that will continue to play a role after their release. This will enhance reintegration. Detention houses generate added value for the neighbourhood in many ways. Think of projects like a social restaurant, a supermarket, a repair shop or the sale of home-grown vegetables. Such initiatives enable people in detention to engage in activities that have meaning for society and for themselves. It also enables them to restore the harm caused by the offense both symbolically and financially. Even in a high-security detention house, added value can be generated through the shared use of detention house spaces. Why not let a local NGO like the local art school gather in the detention house visiting room when it is not in use? Initiatives like these ensure that local communities will learn to live with offenders in their midst. Through thorough preparation and ongoing dialogue with the neighbourhood, community-integrated detention houses will contribute to a general sense of justice, fairness and safety.

COMMUNITY-INTEGRATION

Detention houses are not isolated. People in detention houses make use of services available in the community and add value to the neighbourhood and society. This builds mutual involvement and responsibility. Detention houses are not isolated from society but interact with the community. This is a dynamic interaction. Detention houses collaborate with local social workers, doctors, teachers, and sports coaches, as well as local governments, municipalities and volunteers from the community. Thus, people in detention houses make use of the same service providers (teachers, psychologists, trainers, coaches, etc.) as everyone else in the neighbourhood. In low-security detention houses, they can even go out to meet their service providers. As a result, they get to know the service providers that will continue to play a role after their release. This will enhance reintegration. Detention houses generate added value for the neighbourhood in many ways. Think of projects like a social restaurant, a supermarket, a repair shop or the sale of home-grown vegetables. Such initiatives enable people in detention to engage in activities that have meaning for society and for themselves. It also enables them to restore the harm caused by the offense both symbolically and financially. Even in a high-security detention house, added value can be generated through the shared use of detention house spaces. Why not let a local NGO like the local art school gather in the detention house visiting room when it is not in use? Initiatives like these ensure that local communities will learn to live with offenders in their midst. Through thorough preparation and ongoing dialogue with the neighbourhood, community-integrated detention houses will contribute to a general sense of justice, fairness and safety.