10.1177/0264550520911963 ">

Hidden in plain sight: Architectures of community corrections as public secret

Document Type


Publication Date



Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

Probation Journal


© The Author(s) 2020. Public secrets are the information the public chooses to keep from itself. Architecture is required to both house and operate these secrets. Community sanctions are arguably a public secret. This study analyses the most visible aspects of community sanctions, probation and parole offices, to understand whether and how their architectural features help keep the system hidden. By analysing photographs of such offices, I argue that not only do the building features help maintain community corrections as a public secret, but they also keep the systems secret from the public. I also argue that keeping the offices intentionally obscured may also impact how those under supervision are viewed by the general public.

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