Building Type Basics for Justice Facilities / Edition 1

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Building Type Basics for Justice Facilities is a one-stop sourcefor the essential information architects, engineers, and facilityplanners need to quick-start the design process. In this book, twoof America’s leading experts on justice facilitiesarchitecture and planning share their knowledge on issues essentialto the design of six key building types: law enforcement, adultdetention, courts, corrections, juvenile and family justicefacilities, and multi-occupancy facilities. They also explore keytrends that are driving the planning and design of today’s andtomorrow’s justice facilities, including increased demands forflexibility, information technology, and accessibility.

Highlighting numerous innovative justice facility projects ofthe past few years, including the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse inPortland, Oregon and the Elgin Law Enforcement Facility in Elgin,Illinois, this book provides critical information on the process,potential problems, and unique design concerns for justicefacilities. It also offers extensive coverage of lighting andacoustics; selection of structural, mechanical, and electricalsystems; internal traffic; specialty systems unique to justicefacilities; and such economic factors as costs and financing. Thisindispensable guide:

  • Asks and answers twenty questions encountered frequently in theearly phases of a project commission
  • Provides project photos, diagrams, floor plans, sections anddetails
  • Includes guidelines for a variety of justice facilities,including law enforcement, adult detention, courts, corrections,juvenile and family justice, and multi-occupancy facilities

This conveniently organized, quick reference is an invaluableguide for busy, dedicated professionals who want to get movingquickly as they embark on a new project. Like every Building TypeBasics book, it provides authoritative, up-to-date informationinstantly and saves architects and facility planners countlesshours of research. Engineering consultants will also find a wealthof information to help them tackle justice facility buildingcommissions of all kinds.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471008446
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/25/2003
  • Series: Building Type Basics Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

TODD S. PHILLIPS, PhD, AIA, is a courts planning andresearch consultant and Director of the International Center forCourts Design Research, a nonprofit Organization based inWashington, D.C. He served as the director of the Center forAdvanced Technology Facilities Design at the American Institute ofArchitects from 1992 to 2000.

MICHAEL A. GRIEBEL is Senior Vice President ofArchitecture at Healy, Snyder, Bender & Associates, Inc. (HSB)in Chicago, Illinois. He has led the planning and design of morethan 100 justice facility projects since 1980.

STEPHEN A. KLIMENT, FAIA (Series Founder and Editor), isan architectural journalist and an adjunct professor at the CityCollege of New York. He was chief editor of Architectural Recordfrom 1990 to 1996.

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Read an Excerpt

Building Type Basics for Justice Facilities

By Todd S. Phillips Michael A. Griebel

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-00844-3

Chapter One


The justice system in the United States is supported by a variety of facilities at each level of government-federal, state, and local. The facilities are designed to enable the system to affirm and administer the rule of law on a fair and equal basis for all citizens.

Two branches of government, the executive and the judiciary, are involved. They work together to preserve the balance between individual rights and the common good. The system is at the core of American life; it is central to the fabric of society. Its workings are rooted in bodies of law and shared values born in the past and carried forward to today.

A hallmark of the system is its evolving nature, as new societal demands call for new ways to ensure timely justice for all. Another hallmark is its openness. The administration of justice in America is intended to be a process for all to see. The presence of spectator seating in many courtrooms is an apt metaphor for this spirit.

Many different types of professionals are involved in the U.S. justice system. Police officers, lawyers, judges, prison officials, administrators, and others work alongside an array of allied professionals from the public and private sectors. There are educators, health care providers, forensic scientists, records management experts, and so on. The system also includes elected andappointed officials and public review bodies, as well as community-based volunteers and not-for-profit organizations.


The main elements of the justice system consist of law enforcement, adult detention, courts, adult corrections, and juvenile and family operations. Each element comes in many forms, and these can vary further according to the level of government involved. The operations and the brick-and-mortar infrastructures are likewise varied.


Justice facilities involve structures whose architectural prominence varies from type to type, complicated functional programs, unusually substantial building materials and demanding design techniques, and a context that often includes other buildings constructed at earlier times.

Architectural Prominence

Some justice facilities are highly visible. They are major civic projects in central locations. Others are less visible and may be sited in remote areas. Courthouses, for example, are often landmarks or anchor points in communities. They are the focus of design attention that tries to convey an appropriate judicial image to people entering or just passing by on the street. Prison facilities, in contrast, may not strive for an attention-getting image; the emphasis in the design may be to make them appear unobtrusive and bland. Some juvenile and family facilities are distinguished by a smaller, more residential scale that deemphasizes an institutional appearance in favor of a design that may fit easily into a neighborhood.

The full spectrum of justice facilities represents a variety of types at every scale and with every kind of architecture. Some facilities are places where freedom is celebrated; others, for those persons who have been convicted of breaking the law, are places where freedom is denied.

Complicated, Mission-Driven Programs

Justice facilities are mission driven and programmatically complicated. Each set of justice operations-law enforcement, detention, courts, corrections, juvenile and family-has demanding functional requirements. Careful planning and design to ensure fitness for purpose are critical. Ill-conceived facilities may not work and can be unsafe.

Achieving fitness for purpose means developing facilities that meet today's purpose, using currently available equipment and staffing, as well as accommodating tomorrow's needs when the equipment and staffing may be different. The challenge is to combine long-range flexibility and durability in ways that remain finely tuned to operations.

Appropriate Materials and Methods

Most justice facilities are intended to do more and to last longer than conventional buildings. A standard commercial office building is a simple and short-lived affair as compared with a courthouse that may have a projected life span of 80-100 years. High-quality materials and assembly methods that are functionally and aesthetically appropriate, and that do not degrade substantially under heavy use, are the norm.

Justice facilities are also increasingly packed with information technology. The ability of a facility to support the needed technology-and to adapt to the changing space requirements of emerging technologies-presupposes a level of planning, design, and construction beyond that which is commonplace in the building industry.

Presence of Existing Facilities

All new design and construction for justice facilities takes place directly or indirectly in the context of existing facilities. The bricks-and-mortar of justice in the United States has grown up over many decades in an additive and sometimes ad hoc fashion. New facilities are inevitably part of something bigger than their own footprints. They are often physically tied to other buildings, because they can be located on sites containing long-existing justice operations. Sometimes the existing buildings are architecturally or historically distinguished. Even when a new project is undertaken as a stand-alone on a remote site, it is placed with an awareness of how it fits within a larger jurisdiction-wide network.


Numerous sources of information can be tapped to assist with the task of planning and designing a justice facility. Each major field of justice operations includes professional organizations (e.g., the American Bar Association, the National Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, the American Jail Association, etc.), many of which have published materials that should be consulted as appropriate by anyone starting such a building project.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) has published sets of standards for detention, corrections, and juvenile training schools. Similarly, court facilities now benefit from design guidelines prepared by the federal government for its system and those developed by the National Center for State Courts, as well as various individual state guidelines. There are also materials that address some specialized issues, such as the U.S. Marshals Service standards for security.

Much of the material is a mix of physical design and operational matters. The ACA standards, for example, speak primarily to such things as staffing levels, required services, and prescribed procedures inside a facility. Compliance with the standards may or may not be mandated by the state or other licensing authority having jurisdiction. Other information focuses on architectural and engineering issues, and some of it is impressive for its ability to remain current in an environment of rapid change. The work of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is noteworthy in this regard.

Both the strength and the weakness of the available information is its piecemeal nature. Each publication addresses one type of justice facility, or subpart of it, only. The strength of a tight focus on one type is that it allows some subjects to be addressed in greater depth. The weakness is that there is no inclusive overview of the system as a whole-no easy-to-find design guidance that helps with the question that often arises, "What happens when different kinds of justice operations are joined together in the same project?"

Also, not all the published information is equally up-to-date and consistent with current best practice. It is often remarked that "One can meet the code but not meet the need." The design decision maker is therefore encouraged to conduct intensive research, including tours of built projects that have had to resolve comparable problems. Going into the field to see what works is important.


The organization of this book aims to provide a broad overview of the planning and design issues associated with each of the main facility types within the justice system. Each main type has its own chapter. The sequence of the chapters corresponds to a typical sequence of actions in a criminal matter, beginning, for example, with an arrest by law enforcement and the pretrial detention of an individual in a jail, followed by an adjudication process in a court and, if necessary, sentencing to a correctional facility. This law enforcement-detention-court-corrections progression follows the path through the system that a convicted lawbreaker would take.

The complicated arena of juvenile and family justice has its own chapter, which is organized around special courts, detention, and training schools. A short chapter then addresses the widespread phenomenon of multi-occupant facilities in which different justice and non-justice operations may be combined under the same roof or co-located as part of the same project. The remaining chapters focus on technical subjects.

Each chapter about a facility type stresses an awareness of its program, its functions and operations, key operational and organizational concepts, major areas and spaces, and architectural design. The information provided is intended to introduce the reader to the program-driven nature of the facility and to the important planning and design concepts and possibilities. The discussions do not attempt to be definitive; each facility type can be the subject of intensive study on its own.


The organization of this book encourages the reader to notice the interrelatedness of the various operations and associated facility types, as well as some vital differences. Foremost among the distinctions is the issue of judicial independence. The courts are at the heart of the system; at the same time, they exist within it as the third branch of government whose independence must not be compromised.

Another vital distinction is that between adults and children. The justice system encompasses everyone. Every imaginable type of person may be involved, either through a process as ordinary as requesting a form or through proceedings that may entail the loss of property or freedom. Facilities that deal with children or young people-or with the often volatile domestic relations cases, for example, that involve children -have planning and design considerations that set them apart.


The planning and design of justice facilities is a multidisciplinary process. The issues to be worked through are too complicated for any single set of skills. Within the group of design professionals, experts with engineering and specialized technologies play central roles. At the same time, architectural knowledge that includes a command of space and form is arguably more necessary today than ever before.

Beyond the architects and engineers, the design decision-making team must include key representatives of the user groups. Often, there is an imperfect link between design professionals and justice system professionals. A facility's users and its owners tend not to be the same. The voices of the users may not be heard enough in the planning and design stages. Or only one dominant voice representing the primary occupant may be heard, and contributions from other users are neglected.

The most consistently missing voice in the process is that of the individual citizen. He or she generally has no designated champion at the table. This is unfortunate in the case of facilities that should have inviting and effective public spaces. The lobbies, corridors, waiting areas, and counters that can play a big part in the experience of the citizen are vulnerable to false economies and short-sightedness as participants in the process argue for other priorities. Consideration of citizens' interests and needs is essential.

Adequate time for planning and design is the other critical piece. If the ability to study the problem and explore alternative solutions is hampered by time pressures, the process and its end result will be flawed.


The vast scope of the system means that it is subject to different kinds of trends. Law enforcement in the United States, for example, comprises 18,000 agencies working at all levels of government, from the sheriff in a small community to the policeman on patrol in a big city to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The 1990s saw emerging trends toward some "integrated justice" operations that enable law enforcement agencies to work more closely with each other through advanced information technologies. A number of states, notably Pennsylvania and Colorado, have led the way with their own integrated justice procedures.

More interagency information sharing is being encouraged by antiterrorist measures, including a new Department of Homeland Security. One newspaper noted, "In federal law enforcement, 'all the walls are down.'" A "Strategic Information Operations Center" has been developed at the FBI to create a "system of systems" with the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury, the Central Intelligence and National Security Agencies, and "allied nations." Integrated justice efforts on this scale may speed up trends toward closer informational ties at the state and local levels. The implications for the design of facilities that can support such technology-intensive ties are potentially far-reaching.

In the arena of corrections, the period of the 1960s and 1970s saw the development of more progressive supervision methods and rehabilitation programs. Since then, changes have included the appearance of new drugs on the street, prison populations with many more women serving longer terms, increases in the number of violent juveniles, stiffer penalties and "three strikes" sentencing, and a lesser commitment to humane corrections environments in which offenders are encouraged to rebuild their lives for reentry into society. This arena is rife with different points of view.

Courts, too, reflect many trends. The federal courts construction program launched in the early 1990s has reinvigorated an appreciation of high-quality architecture in the public realm. The Design Excellence program sponsored by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has raised the level of awareness of architecture and, increasingly, building performance.


Excerpted from Building Type Basics for Justice Facilities by Todd S. Phillips Michael A. Griebel Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface (Stephen A. Kliment)



1. Introduction.

2. Law Enforcement Facilities.

3. Adult Detention Facilities.

4 Courthouse Facilities.

5. Adult Correctional Facilities.

6. Juvenile and Family Justice Facilities.

7. Multi-occupant Facilities.


8. Lighting and Acoustics.

9. Mechanical, Electrical, and Structural Systems.

10. Specialty Systems.

11. Security Systems.

12. Costs, Financing, and Project Delivery.

Appendix: Space Requirements for Justice Facilities.

Bibliography and Resources.


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