Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Interior Design

First Advisor

Christiana Lafazani

Second Advisor

Camden Whitehead


American prisons are swollen and distended. Over 2 million Americans sit in jail or prison today. About 2/3 of the incarcerated are parents. They parent approximately 2 million children in America today who are separated from mom or dad because of incarceration. Their children suffer from poverty, inconsistency in caregivers, separation from siblings, reduced opportunity to health and education and increased risk for substance abuse, alcoholism and incarceration themselves. Children of the incarcerated are seven times more likely than their peers to become incarcerated as adults.Many of these children are unable to visit their parents. Over half the mothers in prison today live over 100 miles from home. Children who visit their parents are unable to touch them. 42% of the incarcerated today had a parent who was incarcerated, nearly half grew up families that received welfare benefits, and 42% had a substance-abusing parent. Familial poverty, alcoholism and crime set up a subsequent cycle of generational recidivism. This thesis proposes that the normalization of the prison or jail environment while visiting with parents contributes to the generational cycle of recidivism. Coupled with a lack of opportunity before parental incarceration and ineffective parental rehabilitation, these children return to the facilities as adults. Can families be restored and rehabilitated through education and health opportunities in an environment devoid of an institutional feel? Could an urban university partner with the Department of Corrections to administer such a program? What environment and program model is a viable alternative to reunite these families both during incarceration and as a re-entry that is meaningful and enduring? Can we arrest the cradle to cage cycle? This thesis outlines such a project and facility located in context of Richmond, Virginia. Theoretically, programming will be offered by Virginia Commonwealth University. Statistics and facts will be set within the Richmond environment.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008