Crime and Punishment

Project Name:  Crime and Punishment Museum and Research Center of Criminology
Site:  Dhaka Central Jail, Lalbagh, Old Dhaka.
Site Area:  22 Acres (+)

The project “Crime & Punishment Museum and Research Center of Criminology” aims to create a symbol of exemplary punishment for all kind of crimes that take place in our society. If we look at our society or nation, we will certainly observe that the crimes and criminals are increasing day by day and after each and every crime, we always expect true justice in terms of exemplary punishment of the criminals. But in reality we get tired counting on the crimes but never see a single exemplary judgment or justice. If we look at the history, there were different types of brutal punishment methods including open public execution so that the fear of punishment decreases the crimes. Keeping human rights of the criminals in mind, each and every time these processes were banned though in some portion of the world, still public execution is going on. Unfortunately the crimes never stops rather it increases. Also now a days we are loosing the basic fear of punishment, as we know that the law and order is not strong enough and it’s easy to cheat. So this project will play the role of exemplary punishment not literally but more psychologically. In this museum there will be exhibitory archive of crimes & criminals and the history of brutal punishment methods. When civilian and general public will visit this place, it will certainly remind them of the fear of punishment at the same time the shame on the crime. There also will be facilities of criminological research. Which will ensure a better future to the society regarding crimes and criminal issues.

There are many concepts of crime free society and process to achieve the goal. Though theoretically crime free society might be possible, but in reality there is no society, which is fully free of any crime. This project is an initiative to reduce crimes and criminals in our society by a psychological process where architecture might play the vital role itself. Inspired by the concept and ultimate goal of the public execution and fear of punishment, this is just a try to create a process which will certainly not violate the human rights, at the same time not interrupting the political and governmental system, deal with the psychology to reduce crime.

Aims and objectives of the project:

  • Creating an architectural symbol of crime and punishment.
  • To set an example, which we usually mean by exemplary punishment.
  • Creating public awareness.
  • Creating a public intervention in terms of crimes and criminal issues.
  • Providing public a physical platform for rising voices against crime in formal manner.
  • Reducing crime in the society by developing public morality and knowledge.

Site Analysis:

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Dhaka central jail is located near the banks of the Buriganga river, at the heart of Old Dhaka. It falls under the Kotwali thana of Dhaka district. It is the structure that holds evidence of a 400 years old city that has prospered most during the Mughal’s rule. Near the site remains reminiscent of the old structures that this prosperous city had held high and now on the verge of becoming ruins. 

The jail structure itself has its own history. It was an Afghan fort later on taken over by Man Sing to protect the city and during the British rule converted into jail. The Dhaka central jail is supposed to hold 4000 prisoners in total, but presently there are 10,000 including some well known politicians. Is has plenty of open areas and two ponds. Buildings area dark and shabby. One major problem was identified is that the toilet stinks. Prisoners are provided with good foods and they have no reason to complain. Female prisoners have their own section secluded from the men. The site itself holds a historic value. It ts known to be the Dhaka’s oldest fort, constructed even before the Lalbagh Quella. It is also said that it was known as an Afghan fort. But no records have been traced out about its past. Only two walls remain standing around 25’ high which should be preserved as historic evidence. The fort was used by Mughals as rest houses before the Lalbagh Quella was built. After the fort premises were converted into a jail, there are presences of historic structures, such as cells of great four leaders. Mohammad Kamruzzaman, Tajuddin Ahmed, Capt. Monsur Ali, Syed Nazrul Islam And cells of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Design Development:

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 Functions and Programs:

The design proposal can initially be divided into the following main parts, according to the types of activity:

  • Administrative Unit
  • Exhibition Space
  • Platform for public voice
  • Archive Gallery (Hall of Shame)
  • Multipurpose hall
  • Library
  • Forensic Lab & Computer Lab
  • Classrooms, Seminar rooms
  • Cafeteria
  • Souvenir Shop

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