An Arendtian stand against the banality of evil. Anthropological considerations on imprisonment inspired by Hannah Arendt.
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This thesis examines contemporary imprisonment and offers a fresh perspective on the Dutch prison design, taking the mission of the Dutch Custodial Institutions Agency (DCIA) into account: punishment, reintegration and societal safety. For this design, we will seek inspiration from philosopher Hannah Arendt and propose an alternative approach that will stimulate the fulfilment of these goals by offering a transformative and humane prison environment. Arendtian conditions essential for prisoners to experience a humane existence and reintegrate into society will be developed. These Arendtian conditions will be based on Arendt’s theory on vita contemplativa (thinking, willing, judging), the vita activa (labor, work, action), and the public and private realms. From Arendt’s anthropological theory, I will argue that prisons should be designed to mirror society, offer prisoners a sense of normality and stimulate (moral) responsibility and agency. To translate the Arendtian conditions to practical advice in the context of prison, real-world examples, the Norwegian prisons Bastøy and Halden, will be used. This thesis will conclude with the recommendation for the DCIA to adopt a similar approach to the Norwegian Correctional Service to fulfil its mission and meet the Arendtian conditions of humane imprisonment.