The four most widely used architectural designs in American prisons are the radial design, the telephone-pole design, the courtyard design, and the campus design.
- Wheel-shaped configuration
- Corridors radiate like spokes from a control center at the hub
- Has a long central corridor for prisoners to go from one part of prison to another
- Cross-arm formation containing housing, school, shops, and recreation area.
- Corridors surround a courtyard
- Housing, educational, vocational, recreational, prison industry, and dining areas face the courtyards.
- Open design that allows some freedom of movement.
- Units of the prison are housed in a complex of buildings surrounded by a fence.