Shipping containers have become a hot form of prefabricated building material: they’re cheap, plentiful, and ready for retrofitting. Their modular nature provides lots of opportunities for creativity, and architects have used them for both homes and larger buildings.
All of these reasons have played into Adelaide, Australia’s decision to experiment with shipping containers as prison cells. But a number of state legislators and activists are crying foul, claiming that the plan is inhumane. Civil libertarian George Mancini told The Advertiser that he sees the plan as representative of short-term thinking on corrections: “I would have thought the future of prisons involves the rehabilitation of prisoners… There needs to be a focus on rehabilitation and reasonable conditions, not just cheap housing but effective housing.”