Hard Cell: Razor Smith Gives an Insider's View of a Glossy Account of Prison Architecture. (Buildings)

By Smith, Razor | New Statesman (1996), March 4, 2002 | Go to article overview

Hard Cell: Razor Smith Gives an Insider's View of a Glossy Account of Prison Architecture. (Buildings)


Smith, Razor, New Statesman (1996)


The close study of prison architecture has been a hobby of mine for many years now, though not, I must admit, for any aesthetic reason. I have been a "guest" at more than 30 of Her Majesty's prisons, on and off since 1975, so believe me when I tell you that there is no such thing as a "good" prison. There are only varying degrees of bad. Therefore, when I discovered that English Heritage had published the first architectural history of prisons in England, "complete with over 100-full-colour photographs", I couldn't help wondering what its next project might be. Perhaps a full-colour guide to historically interesting whipping posts, torture chambers and gibbets?

The prisons of England are steeped in the misery and despair of the countless thousands of men, women and children who have been incarcerated behind their high stone walls and razor-wire-festooned fences. So, to me, there is something intrinsically voyeuristic about a book that celebrates places of punishment.

I can understand how people on the outside, whose only experience of English prisons comes from the ludicrous sensationalism of the tabloid press and reruns of the 1970s BBC comedy classic Porridge, might be interested in seeing the mausoleums of misery that have been built in their name, and with their money. And if architecture is your thing, Victorian to modern with all the stops in between, this book will probably keep you as happy as a pig in uniform. But while you admire the full-colour pictures of cells and punishment blocks, spare a thought for the human beings who are held inside them, forced to see them every day, sometimes for decades, until it becomes easier to take their own lives rather than keep on seeing them.

English Heritage received "unprecedented co-operation" from the Home Office and the prison service during the three years it took to put this book together. It can only be a coincidence that English Prisons was launched in the same week that Beverley Hughes, the prisons minister, gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph outlining plans to sell off most of the inner-city Victorian prisons - the very prisons that receive such fulsome praise from English Heritage.

The plan is to create a generation of "super prisons", holding up to 1,500 prisoners, on sites outside major cities. They will be built and run by the private sector, but paid for by selling prime prison real estate to developers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hard Cell: Razor Smith Gives an Insider's View of a Glossy Account of Prison Architecture. (Buildings)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.