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AIA Adopts New Rules for Justice Facility Design

Monday, December 21, 2020

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Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects Board of Directors adopted new rules into the association’s Code of Ethics.

The new guidelines now prohibit the design of certain justice facilities.

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Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects Board of Directors adopted new rules into the association’s Code of Ethics.

“We are committed to promoting the design of a more equitable and just built world that dismantles racial injustice and upholds human rights,” said AIA 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA.

“Specifically, AIA members are required to uphold the health, safety and welfare of the public. Spaces for execution, torture and prolonged solitary confinement contradict those values. This decision emphasizes AIA’s commitment to making a difference on this issue and upholding human rights for our society."

About the Changes

More specifically, the Board approved new rules to the Institute’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct that prohibit members from “knowingly designing spaces intended for execution and torture, including indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more per day without meaningful human contact, for more than 15 consecutive days.”

The Board’s position is that the design of such spaces is inconsistent with the profession’s fundamental responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and uphold human rights.

According to the AIA, a statement of position was also adopted by the Board stating the AIA and its members:

  • Remain committed to working with clients to promote criminal justice reform and rehabilitation, guided in part by positions taken by the International Red Cross, the United Nations and other human rights organizations;
  • Remain focused on design solutions to promote rehabilitation to address issues impacting recidivism such as mental health, health care, housing, education and employment; and
  • Strive to ensure that the physical needs, health, dignity and human potential of all those who come in contact with the justice system are respected and given the opportunity to flourish.

The AIA also noted that it aims to create a task group to better define restorative justice in the context of the profession, collaborate with its partners to identify best practices, and develop resources and educational opportunities for members in the coming months. 


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Associations; Ethics; Good Technical Practice; Government; NA; North America; Prisons; Regulations

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