Dillwynia Correctional Centre Expansion
When the incarcerated population of New South Wales, Australia, swelled in 2017, Dillwynia Correctional Facility was identified as a possible facility for expansion to accommodate the growth. This project, guided by trauma-informed design principles, meets the specific needs of female offenders, a demographic in Australia that was trending toward higher security requirements and increased need for mental health treatment. By recognizing trauma over punishment as the driving design factor, the facility breaks the standard model of correctional architecture.
"This project thoughtfully organizes a complex program on a highly constrained site in a way that creates a network of vibrant landscapes that support free movement and a strong connection to nature." - Jury Comment
The team's approach was based on extensive research that demonstrates that familiarity creates supportive, safe spaces and encourages individuals to break the cycle of destructive behaviors. Many studies have shown that incarcerated individuals have experienced some form of trauma that influenced their circumstances. The team's overarching objective in designing Dyllwynia Correctional Facility's Expansion was not to increase trauma but rather provide a place that promotes change.
"This project thoughtfully organizes a complex program on a highly constrained site in a way that creates a network of vibrant landscapes that support free movement and a strong connection to nature," noted the jury. "With a true feeling of a residential campus, this facility integrates contemporary correctional ideas into a friendly and relaxed environment."
The project was part of the state government's Prison Bed Capacity Program, which addresses both capacity and recidivism. Since completion, it has housed maximum security female offenders in a contemporary and rehabilitative environment.
"With a true feeling of a residential campus, this facility integrates contemporary correctional ideas into a friendly and relaxed environment." - Jury Comment
Corrective Services of New South Wales has since shared some of the activities it has been able to integrate successfully into the facility, including using the new education and programs buildings to support inmates in creating artwork and cards for their children. A new visitation space has also housed a live concert, a creative experience that demonstrates how other correctional facilities can host events.
The expansion’s modern facilities represent a new era for accommodation, visitation, health care, and education in correctional facilities. Such benefits are felt not only by the target population of female offenders but also by their families and the staff who work there.