HMPark Life

As featured in an interview with Régine Debatty in her blog: We Make Money Not Art

Research film: click on video to iinitiate

The majority of the public see prison as a “Holiday Camp”,demanding increased instances of ‘restorative justice' where offenders directly make amends with the victims of their crimes. With a Government forcing inmates to work a full week for virtually no pay in order to earn their keep, ‘HMPark Life’ is a new prison located in Brockwell Park, South London. It questions this drive to turn a prison population into a cheap labour force, one that works not just to provide skills in the name of ‘rehabilitation’ but forces offenders to be visibly productive and punished to quench the public’s ever present blood thirst for justice.

Section through prison canyon

Plan detail showing public/ inmate library and visitors' centre

Dante's Inferno and the circles of Hell are made to correspond to the gradation of current UK prison security categories. With high security at the deepest point climbing up to an open prison at the surface of the offender-made canyon, this seeping of the prison into the well-healed high street of Herne Hill provides moments of inmate/ outsider interaction in the form of a theatre, library and workshops. A public viewing platform perched on the prison's main circulation core provides an ideal point from which to survey the throng of productive inmates, leaving the public with that sense of satisfaction. This is the new panopticon.

Tha Cantos

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