Photo: "Corridor, Forensic Building"

Corridor inside the forensic building at Mayview State Hospital in Pennsylvania. 

This building was responsible for housing the criminally insane, those guilty by reason of insanity, which is one of the reasons the building is very stark and mundane.   

Sadly, this campus was demolished earlier this year.  

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The Impacts Our Environments Have On Us

Many studies have shown we are largely affected by our environments. Often we are subconsciously molded by the spaces we frequent. For the patients admitted to asylums, they are surrounded by calming colors to subconsciously assist with their moods. Those colors include pastels, such as blues, yellows, pinks and of course "institutional green." This asylum day room is much different. It contains white tile, very little color, no artwork or ambiance. 

This building is the forensic building at Weston State Hospital in West Virginia. For those of you not familiar, forensic buildings are designed to house the criminally insane, those deemed "not guilty by reason of insanity." For all intents and purposes, the forensic building was a prison, with the sole difference being that some mental health care was provided. 

Many of these patients were diagnosed as "incurable" and would spend their lives institutionalized in a building such as this, so I would like you to think about the sort of feelings one might experience in this stark, cold, and lonely environment. It is certainly not as conducive for healing as the colorful, decorated wards of the asylums that held the less dangerous patients.