Opinion: Some thoughts on detention facilities in Indian Country

"I joined Justice Solutions Group (JSG) two years ago to see how my 44 years of architectural experience might be helpful when applied to Indian Country justice center designs. While all tribes have unique cultural aspects I’ve learned that a common theme is their belief that the family has an integral part in the process of returning offenders to their communities as healthy human beings.

JSG has been providing Native American tribes its expertise for over a decade with services such as: Justice Systems Planning, Facility Planning, and Transition and Activation Services. What interests me most as an architect is planning, programming and designing facilities that not only meet a client’s specific expectations while providing unique building design solutions for each tribe.

From this architect’s perspective shared with many of my former clients, the initial phase of a project is the most critical in achieving success as determined by the appropriate number of beds and services needed. This is the foundation from which all other decisions are based and is essential to a successful master plan.

Determining the appropriate number and type of beds should be based on the analysis of data during the needs assessment phase, vs. those desired. This can become a daunting challenge for any architect. Tribes often base their bed space needs on current conditions, not factoring in the potential impact of an effective court system, alternatives to incarceration or aftercare programs. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse programs can impact an incarcerated population with significant results in behavioral change and lead to reduced recidivism. The interior environment plays another important role in behavioral change, which will be discussed later in this report."

Get the Story:
Peter Krasnow: Thoughts on Planning, Programming & Designing Indian Country Detention Facilities (Correctional News 1/4)

Join the Conversation