Dear AAJ folks, Some of you have probably seen this article and/or the scholarly paper it describes, but I think you'll find it interesting. While based on research in the Netherlands, it has a lot of implications and some comments on US prisons. Not news to you, but now it's knowledge
"After controlling for age, ethnicity, intimate relationships at the time of arrest, education level, personality traits, criminal histories, and officer-to-inmate ratios, the authors discovered that their hunch was correct. If the prisoners were housed in leaky dungeon-like panopticons, they tended to feel more estranged from guards. But if they were enjoying campus-style living arrangements or apartment-style high-rises, they perceived the relationships as more supportive.
... Prisoners in panopticon layouts were least positive about their relationships with officers. Prisoners in radial, courtyard, rectangular, and high-rise layouts had an increasingly positive judgment about officer-prisoner relationships. When compared with prisoners in panopticon layouts, prisoners in campus layouts were most positive about these relationships. ...
The analysis also turned up a significant relationship between the perceptions and two more specific variables, age of construction and double bunks. "Prisoners experienced their relationships with officers more positively in newer units and in units with a lower percentage of double cells," the authors write. "Old units and high levels of double bunking are especially present in panopticon layouts." Double bunking might mean less individual attention from prison staff, the authors note."