05 Re-Entry Projects (Touchpoint Development)

Jiaheng Wu
Dingding Shi
Jiabao Li
Welcoming people recently released from prison—helping them thrive when they rejoin society.

Re-Entry projects aim to provide returning citizens the structures they need to transition from prison back to public life and avoid recidivism. Programs include supportive housing, job training and opportunities, and spaces for wellness and art, music and other crafts.

The Re-Entry team decided to explore all these programs in one building, acknowledging the need for an holistic approach to re-entry.

A five-story walk-up building on a standard 25 x 100 foot lot on a primary retail corridor in Brownsville Brooklyn was selected as a prototype and test site. The building was used to explore how the planning programming might be deployed and fit together on a typical site.


The Ground floor would be programmed with job opportunities—a neighborhood job center, and a cafe/restaurant for food industry training. Above that (second floor) would be group activity spaces for Arts/Crafts, Music, Therapy. The third and fourth floors would be dorm-style accommodations which would serve as a transitional housing for those very recently released. The fifth floor would be individual studio/efficiency apartments for transitioning people to living on their own.

A refreshing material palette with biophilic influences aim to create a welcoming and healing environment.

Floor 5: Housing—Private Studios/Efficiencies

Once residents are a bit more established, Private Studios/Efficiency Apartments provide a step up from the shared accommodations offered to new arrivals and can be a stepping stone to getting their own apartment elsewhere.

Floors 3/4: Housing—Shared/Co-living

For new arrivals, beds are offered in co-living style accommodations. These floors allow for more beds in a modest footprint building retrofit. While not fully private, these spaces are curated to feel warm and welcoming, and are intended to ease the transition for those just released.

Floor 2: Common—Therapy/Wellness

Below the living floors, the Common floors house social-emotional wellness spaces, including rooms for both group and individual therapy.

Floor 2: Common—Activity Spaces (Arts/Crafts, Music, Wellness)

Also on the Common floor, the arts and crafts space is a semi-public/private space for both making and performances/showcases. The hope is to bring neighbors in and create connections within the community.

The art studio would be programming with both taught classes and individual studio times. The music studio would have music lessons as well rehearsal space and small shows. Lessons might include traditional musical instruments, as well as electronic music and DJ'ing.

Floor 1: Work Experience/Opportunity Lounge

The ground floor would take advantage of the street level/storefront exposure by housing retail businesses needed in the neighborhood. Once again the hope here is to create community bonds by offering things desired by the community while providing on-the-job skills training for residents upstairs and other formerly incarcerated persons.