To raise awareness about the negative aspects of the US prison system, and to disseminate on alternatives to incarceration

The aim of the project is to wage a campaign among design professionals that will raise awareness about the negative aspects of the US prison system, and to pave the way for alternatives to incarceration.

Originally launched in 2004 as the Prison Design Boycott, ADPSR’s Prison Alternatives Initiative calls on architects, other design professionals, and the public to support community-based alternatives to incarceration. ADPSR considers the U.S. prison system to be a devastating moral blight on our society and an overwhelming economic burden on tax dollars, taking away much needed resources from schools, health care and affordable housing. The prison system is corrupting society and making people more threatened, rather than protecting them as its proponents claim. It is a system built on fear, racism, and the exploitation of poverty. Architects should rather be using their professional skills to design positive social institutions such as universities or playgrounds.

Stopping the construction of prisons is only one step towards the better society that ADPSR aspires to. In order to minimize the use of prisons it is necessary to develop alternatives to imprisonment as responses to anti-social behaviour. An important first step would be to pass better laws and move towards “restorative justice,” in which an offender can make restitution to those who have been hurt, and to society at large, in a community process of work and reconciliation.


United States

ASF International Member Organization: 



Architects Designers Planners for Social Responsibility

Activity Type: 

Awareness Programme