By Roxanne Squires
SALINAS, Calif. — Construction on MontereyCounty’s new Juvenile Hall is currently underway, highlighting a design that worksto prioritize rehabilitation of youth through treatment, educational andvocational programs.
A project nearly 15 years in the making — the previous juvenile facility was one of the oldest juvenile halls in the state and was built using a liner design of the halls with cells on both sides — obstructing staff views of the youth, while it had minimal space for programs, no sally port and no kitchen, according to the Californian.
In response, DLR Group designed the $58 million replacement facility applying a campus-style theme in order to integrate the education and vocation programs with every day activities.
The design aims to enhance the quality of the environment while fitting into the surrounding community both functionally and aesthetically.
The new 70,000-square-foot, 120-bedjuvenile facility contains housing, medical/mental health services,administrative, educational, vocational and recreational programs for youths atrisk for criminal behavior.
The new facility is comprised of four separate modernized pod units each containing 30 beds — a layout built to improve visibility and safety for both the staff and youth.
The facility also utilizes natural light and open space design, with a focus on its new education center for classes, along with a gymnasium, an open-air recreation field, a kitchen and dining hall, a secure sally port, several visiting rooms and multiple spaces for programming.
The facility will provide intervention to help prevent the escalation of criminal conduct through the use of appropriate consequences and transition youths to return to the community in a better way.
“The trend in corrections across the country is going towards a therapeutic model, rehabilitation,” Capt. Jim Bass told KION News Channel. “There’s been an increase in inmates with mental illness, trying to provide programming and services not only while they’re in custody but when they’re out.”
DLR Group is providing master planning, architecture, engineering and interiors services, and is expected to be completed with the project by September 2019.
Reports from the Californian and KION News contributedto this story.