Remember a while ago when two inmates from a New York prison escaped their cells by drilling a hole and walking through the secret passageways within the walls? And then more recently, Mexican drug lord El Chapo also escaped a prison in Mexico by drilling a hole in the side of his shower and walking upright through an 8-foot-high tunnel?

My bad.

I know, I know. I’ve got to stop building person-sized escape routes directly behind each prisoner’s cell. It’s how prisoners escape, and that’s not the point of prison. I can’t help it though. In 1977, a contracting company gave me half a million dollars and said “Please make some prisons.” So I did.

However, designing prisons is harder than it looks. When I started, I knew I had to build an interior where the people inside would not be able to escape. But then I thought to myself, “But what if people need to escape? Or what if they just really want to?”


The architect's blueprints for a previous prison.


Prison officials kept saying “Craig, we don’t want a passageway.” And I was like “Yes, got it.” But then a few days went by, and I kept thinking, “But wouldn’t it be great to build a passageway?” After all, the promise of escape is what makes a prison so effective.

So I built some space behind the walls. And then I thought, “Well, I might as well also build a catwalk so that people can walk across it safely, if in fact they are trying to escape.” I thought the guards would have at the very least put a camera in the passageway. They didn’t because I forgot to tell them I had built the passageway.

No more of that, though. I promise. If I want to build a human-sized passageway from now on, I’ll just have to do it in a regular house, or an office building or something. I won’t do it in prisons anymore. Also I won’t build secret cubby holes where prisoners can hide high-powered drills. Also, I won’t include a “survival pack” at the end of the hallway that includes a furl-out ladder, fake passports, and cash.

Yeesh yeah. Definitely my fault.

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