The detention house

In the nineteenth century, European states turned to imprisonment as their punishment of choice. Since then, countless prisons have been built across Europe. Although they differ in many ways, they have one thing in common: their scale. Barring a few exceptions, European prisons are large and getting larger. But larger is not better. Research shows that prisons create more problems than they solve.

  • Prisons have a hard time ensuring decent treatment of incarcerated people.
  • Prisons cause harm and do irreparable damage to incarcerated people and their social network.
  • Prisons estrange incarcerated people from society in deep and lasting ways. In fact, we have good reason to think that
  • Imprisonment increases the chance that someone commits another crime.

Reason enough for RESCALED to propose an alternative. The detention house. Prisons are about managing large groups of people in uniform facilities sealed off from society. This is not what detention houses are about. Detention houses work with small groups. And there are many of them. They house people in similar situations: with the same security level, juridical status or educational, vocational or therapeutic needs. Also, detention houses remain as embedded in the community as security levels allow. In every case, they seek to maximize mutual exchange with the neighbourhood. Incarcerated persons partake in activities and provide and receive services. Detention houses, in short, are small-scale, differentiated and integrated in the community.

The detention house

In the nineteenth century, European states turned to imprisonment as their punishment of choice. Since then, countless prisons have been built across Europe. Although they differ in many ways, they have one thing in common: their scale. Barring a few exceptions, European prisons are large and getting larger. But larger is not better. Research shows that prisons create more problems than they solve.

  • Prisons have a hard time ensuring decent treatment of incarcerated people.
  • Prisons cause harm and do irreparable damage to incarcerated people and their social network.
  • Prisons estrange incarcerated people from society in deep and lasting ways. In fact, we have good reason to think that
  • Imprisonment increases the chance that someone commits another crime.

Reason enough for RESCALED to propose an alternative. The detention house. Prisons are about managing large groups of people in uniform facilities sealed off from society. This is not what detention houses are about. Detention houses work with small groups. And there are many of them. They house people in similar situations: with the same security level, juridical status or educational, vocational or therapeutic needs. Also, detention houses remain as embedded in the community as security levels allow. In every case, they seek to maximize mutual exchange with the neighbourhood. Incarcerated persons partake in activities and provide and receive services. Detention houses, in short, are small-scale, differentiated and integrated in the community.

The detention house

In the nineteenth century, European states turned to imprisonment as their punishment of choice. Since then, countless prisons have been built across Europe. Although they differ in many ways, they have one thing in common: their scale. Barring a few exceptions, European prisons are large and getting larger. But larger is not better. Research shows that prisons create more problems than they solve.

  • Prisons have a hard time ensuring decent treatment of incarcerated people.
  • Prisons cause harm and do irreparable damage to incarcerated people and their social network.
  • Prisons estrange incarcerated people from society in deep and lasting ways. In fact, we have good reason to think that
  • Imprisonment increases the chance that someone commits another crime.

Reason enough for RESCALED to propose an alternative. The detention house. Prisons are about managing large groups of people in uniform facilities sealed off from society. This is not what detention houses are about. Detention houses work with small groups. And there are many of them. They house people in similar situations: with the same security level, juridical status or educational, vocational or therapeutic needs. Also, detention houses remain as embedded in the community as security levels allow. In every case, they seek to maximize mutual exchange with the neighbourhood. Incarcerated persons partake in activities and provide and receive services. Detention houses, in short, are small-scale, differentiated and integrated in the community.

The detention house

In the nineteenth century, European states turned to imprisonment as their punishment of choice. Since then, countless prisons have been built across Europe. Although they differ in many ways, they have one thing in common: their scale. Barring a few exceptions, European prisons are large and getting larger. But larger is not better. Research shows that prisons create more problems than they solve.

  • Prisons have a hard time ensuring decent treatment of incarcerated people.
  • Prisons cause harm and do irreparable damage to incarcerated people and their social network.
  • Prisons estrange incarcerated people from society in deep and lasting ways. In fact, we have good reason to think that
  • Imprisonment increases the chance that someone commits another crime.

Reason enough for RESCALED to propose an alternative. The detention house. Prisons are about managing large groups of people in uniform facilities sealed off from society. This is not what detention houses are about. Detention houses work with small groups. And there are many of them. They house people in similar situations: with the same security level, juridical status or educational, vocational or therapeutic needs. Also, detention houses remain as embedded in the community as security levels allow. In every case, they seek to maximize mutual exchange with the neighbourhood. Incarcerated persons partake in activities and provide and receive services. Detention houses, in short, are small-scale, differentiated and integrated in the community.

The concept
SMALL SCALE

At RESCALED, we believe size does matter. But size is a means, not an end. Research on Nordic prisons suggests that small-scale facilities provide better detention conditions both incarcerated persons and for staff. And decent conditions, in turn, result in better reintegration outcomes. A detention house is small. It accommodates between ten and thirty people. 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. A network of many small detention houses makes differentiation possible and enables people in detention to serve their sentence close to the community to which they will return.

The concept
SMALL SCALE

At RESCALED, we believe size does matter. But size is a means, not an end. Research on Nordic prisons suggests that small-scale facilities provide better detention conditions both incarcerated persons and for staff. And decent conditions, in turn, result in better reintegration outcomes. A detention house is small. It accommodates between ten and thirty people. 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. A network of many small detention houses makes differentiation possible and enables people in detention to serve their sentence close to the community to which they will return.

The concept
SMALL SCALE

At RESCALED, we believe size does matter. But size is a means, not an end. Research on Nordic prisons suggests that small-scale facilities provide better detention conditions both incarcerated persons and for staff. And decent conditions, in turn, result in better reintegration outcomes. A detention house is small. It accommodates between ten and thirty people. 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. A network of many small detention houses makes differentiation possible and enables people in detention to serve their sentence close to the community to which they will return.

The concept
DIFFERENTIATION

Because detention houses are small and there are many of them, they can do what prisons cannot: provide the right context for each individual. This is what differentiation means: placing people in a setting with the right security level and offering them services, activities and programs that fit their needs. The high security levels that characterize large prisons are only required for the few individuals who contemplate escape or pose an institutional risk For the majority of incarcerated persons so much security is unnecessary. Besides, it is needlessly expensive and hampers opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration. Detention houses ensure that each inmate gets the right security fit. Detention houses also vary in the kind and intensity of programs and services they offer. These can include work, vocational training and other educational initiatives, psychological treatment or social assistance.

The concept
differentiation

Because detention houses are small and there are many of them, they can do what prisons cannot: provide the right context for each individual. This is what differentiation means: placing people in a setting with the right security level and offering them services, activities and programs that fit their needs. The high security levels that characterize large prisons are only required for the few individuals who contemplate escape or pose an institutional risk For the majority of incarcerated persons so much security is unnecessary. Besides, it is needlessly expensive and hampers opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration. Detention houses ensure that each inmate gets the right security fit. Detention houses also vary in the kind and intensity of programs and services they offer. These can include work, vocational training and other educational initiatives, psychological treatment or social assistance.

The concept
DIFFERENTIATION

Because detention houses are small and there are many of them, they can do what prisons cannot: provide the right context for each individual. This is what differentiation means: placing people in a setting with the right security level and offering them services, activities and programs that fit their needs. The high security levels that characterize large prisons are only required for the few individuals who contemplate escape or pose an institutional risk For the majority of incarcerated persons so much security is unnecessary. Besides, it is needlessly expensive and hampers opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration. Detention houses ensure that each inmate gets the right security fit. Detention houses also vary in the kind and intensity of programs and services they offer. These can include work, vocational training and other educational initiatives, psychological treatment or social assistance.

The concept
INTEGRATION IN THE COMMUNITY

No detention house is an island. Detention houses are not isolated from society but interact with the community. This is a two-way street. People in detention make use of services available in the community and add value to the neighbourhood and larger society. This builds mutual involvement and responsibility. Detention houses collaborate with local social workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, and sports coaches, as well as local governments and municipalities and volunteers from the community. Thus, people in detenion 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, the rights of people in detention are ensured, and 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 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 and 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 the local bridge club 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.

The concept
integration in the community

No detention house is an island. Detention houses are not isolated from society but interact with the community. This is a two-way street. People in detention make use of services available in the community and add value to the neighbourhood and larger society. This builds mutual involvement and responsibility. Detention houses collaborate with local social workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, and sports coaches, as well as local governments and municipalities and volunteers from the community. Thus, people in detenion 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, the rights of people in detention are ensured, and 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 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 and 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 the local bridge club 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.

The concept
Integration in the community

No detention house is an island. Detention houses are not isolated from society but interact with the community. This is a two-way street. People in detention make use of services available in the community and add value to the neighbourhood and larger society. This builds mutual involvement and responsibility. Detention houses collaborate with local social workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, and sports coaches, as well as local governments and municipalities and volunteers from the community. Thus, people in detenion 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, the rights of people in detention are ensured, and 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 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 and 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 the local bridge club 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.