As the first jail in Newark, it can become a vessel in which we can talk about the problematics of incarceration and also shed light on the problems that people encounter when they are released from prisons.
Re-entry Program Space
The Essex County Jail not only is of great significance because if its architectural value, but also because of the social history it contains. As the first jail in Newark, it can become a vessel in which we can talk about the problematic of incarceration and also shed light on the problems that people encounter when they are released from prisons. Some, if not most, don’t have a support system that will guide them and help them to reintegrate and be positive contributors to society.
My proposal is to create a reentry program for the Newark community that can provide the necessary tools to support the people who are being released from prison. The program focuses on: education and employment by creating classrooms and computer labs for workshops and vocational training; medical attention where people can get counseling and therapy or they can be examined and treated; office space that will support the nonprofit organization; and an auditorium that can be used for larger scale events.
I also wanted to create open spaces within the program and decided to use the exterior walls of the former Essex County Jail as a transition from the exterior public space to the private space within the walls. The design is, literally, a new building of glass and concrete within the masonry shell of the old, creating a sense of openness that contrasts with the original use of the building.