Designing for Justice – AIA 2008 Justice Facilities Review

Each year the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Justice publishes the Justice Facilities Review, which showcases projects throughout the United States that integrate exemplary, proven strategies in the design and construction of justice facilities.

The Justice Facilities Review provides industry professionals with a peer-generated indicator of progressive trends within justice facility architecture.

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New Horizons: A View From the Ridge

After more than 10 years of planning and pauses, Department of Corrections officials unveiled the $190 million Deer Ridge Correctional Institution as the template for the future of corrections in Oregon — a future shaped by growing pressures and shifting challenges, but one defined by the promise of new horizons in programming, sustainabilit

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Rural Justice By Design

Anchored by the offices of the Sheriff’s Department and boasting two courtrooms and 318 detention beds, the 89,000-square-foot White County Law Enforcement Center combines discrete judicial, enforcement and detention components in an all-in-one justice center tailored to the rural Arkansas community it serves.

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Community Justice

Shoehorned into a 12-acre site amid the meandering banks of the Rock River, Winnebago County’s new four-story justice center brings almost 600,000 square feet of multifunctional space to the quintessentially American-heartland townscape of downtown Rockford, Ill.

Designed by Wisconsin-based architectural firm Durrant, the layered, multidimensional envelope draws a bold 21st century footprint in its balance of function and form, aesthetics and pragmatics, and design and technology.

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Double Dose

Justice facility construction projects are complicated on many different levels. They are usually political minefields that must be navigated carefully to avoid public dissatisfaction, there are many stakeholders involved, and oftentimes a crisis is on hand or looming on the horizon.

The plan to build a new jail in Franklin County, Pa., was not exempt from any of the common hurdles, but a carefully planned strategy avoided any major problems while maintaining a high level of public support.

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Breaking Boundaries

Most jails have a stereotypical appearance: a bleak, imposing building with a stark façade punctuated by dime-slot windows, and a dim interior with muted colors and rows of cells bound by bars — a popular conception reinforced among the public by movies and TV shows.

What many people do not know is that jail designers and administrators are working to eliminate this conception through the use of light, color and — a word formerly unassociated with jails — comfort.

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Character Counts

Character plays an important role in society. When people lack character, they are often not held in the same esteem as people who do have it. When a building lacks character, it is often considered drab and uncomfortable, which in the long run could make it unsuccessful in fulfilling its purpose.

A new juvenile correctional facility in Fresno, Calif., was not only designed with character — a colorful façade, daylighting and other aesthetic enhancements — it was designed to improve the character of the youths that walk its halls.

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Cooperative Corrections

Funding and space deficiencies are commonplace in the correctional industry. Jurisdictions across the United States deal with overcrowded conditions, which often leads to the absorption of programming space to accommodate inmate housing. The lack of programming space leads to a lack of inmate services and rehabilitation, which helps contribute to higher recidivism rates. It’s a downward spiral that hasn’t stopped for years in many communities.

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