AIA Denounces Conditions at Detention Centers

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) board of directors issued the following statement denouncing conditions at detention centers:

“The AIA urges local, state and federal leaders to work together to safeguard the dignity, safety and welfare of everyone regardless of race, creed, gender, age or national origin in their custody and care at detention facilities.  

“AIA’s members are driven, as so clearly stated in our Code of Ethics, to ‘uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.’ Fundamentally, AIA’s vision is that the built environment promotes and preserves the health, safety and welfare of every individual, and fosters universal respect for human dignity.  

“The conditions as described by numerous media reports and congressional fact-finding missions to detention facilities make clear that these buildings are not designed to handle the sheer numbers of people in them nor do they sustain the health, safety and welfare of their occupants, many of whom are women and children. Above all, the misuse of these buildings and the impact on occupants in them are contrary to our values as architects and as Americans.  

“Architects are leading efforts to promote the design of safe, dependable and healthy housing or shelter, including detention facilities. Good design can ensure security and safety for staff and the traveling public combined with respect for human dignity and our nation’s fundamental values.

“The AIA stands ready to advance governmental policies, regulations and procedures that provide the transparency, consistency and predictability needed to maintain or improve the health, safety and welfare requirements for all buildings.  

“AIA calls for building inspectors and others (with appropriate authority) to proactively evaluate facilities to ensure that they are in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations to ensure the health, safety and welfare of inhabitants. Consistent with applicable laws and codes, we urge swift correction and mitigation of all building code violations and that existing building codes be used to ensure the safety and welfare of all.”

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