Laura Kurgan worked with the Department of Probation in New York City and the Mayor’s Office of Operations, and designed a participatory process which over a period of three months resulted in a report which proposed recommendations for the redesign of probation waiting rooms – processes and design - across New York City. As public places of service in New York City, the DOP “waiting rooms” -- to be redesigned as Resource Hubs -- will become a visible example of changes being made agency-wide to improve the culture of probation and its city-wide infrastructure, policies and processes -- physical and systemic.
Linking Prisoner Reentry to Community Rebuilding in Post-Katrina New Orleans:
In the summer of 2006 SIDL received a grant to further their work in Justice Mapping into a real world application at an architectural scale. A group of five graduate students received fellowships to travel to New Orleans with Professor Kurgan to come up with a vision plan for a high incarceration neighborhood in New Orleans from the perspective of Justice Reinvestment. This work was continued by 2nd year architecture students in the studio in the Spring of 2007. We gave a presentation to City Council, June 12th 2007. Final documentation of this work was published in 2009.
The Justice Atlas is distinct from crime mapping in that it maps the residential patterns of populations who are admitted to prison and who return to their communities from prison each year; as well as those who are on parole or probation on any typical day. The maps tell a story of highly concentrated pockets of criminal justice activity which predominate in a few neighborhood in the major cities an certain rural regions of most states.
The United States currently has more than two million people locked up in jails and prisons. A disproportionate number of them come from a very few neighborhoods in the country’s biggest cities. In many places the concentration is so dense that states are spending in excess of a million dollars a year to incarcerate the residents of single city blocks. Using rarely accessible data from the criminal justice system, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Justice Mapping Center have created maps of these “million dollar blocks” and of the city-prison-city-prison migration flow for five of the nation’s cities.