What kind of prison might the inmates design?

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What kind of prison might the inmates design?
Inmates Anthony Pratt, Aliton Woodson and Keith Wilkins present their 3D model for a restorative justice center. Their vision includes a fountain with a waterfall symbolic of adaptability, a relaxation room and plenty of natural light / © Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
What kind of prison might the inmates design?
Inmates Anthony Pratt, Aliton Woodson and Keith Wilkins present their 3D model for a restorative justice center. Their vision includes a fountain with a waterfall symbolic of adaptability, a relaxation room and plenty of natural light / © Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times

The workshop leaders came laden with markers in colors other than red and blue (gang colors), drafting rulers crafted from museum board (too dull to double as weapons) and kiddie scissors (ditto).

All the students wore orange. And on this final day, their paper models were taking shape.

Architect Deanna VanBuren adjusted a piece of tracing paper over Anthony Pratt’s design, showing him how to mark the perimeter to show walls and windows, then urging him to use dots to indicate open spaces.

A towering, broad-chested man with full tattoos adorning both arms, Pratt, 29, was among those sketching out new visions: an airy room with a skylight to cure vitamin D deficiencies and a fountain with a cascading waterfall to represent resilience and adaptability. Privacy barriers for the shower and toilet. A healing center with lots of windows and, in the middle, a talking circle with a sun emblazoned in its center.

The spaces they were planning could be at a New Age retreat, but these were conceived by inmates at San Francisco’s County Jail No. 5.

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