AAJ Leadership and National Subcommittees

2019 Call for Nominations for AAJ Leadership Group

The Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) is a Knowledge Community of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). It is the AAJ’s primary goal to be the recognized organization that promotes excellence in design of justice facilities that:

  • Operate efficiently, safely, and securely
  • Contribute to more livable and sustainable communities
  • Elevate the stature of these institutions within society
  • Create a positive environment for those who visit, work, and live there
  • Achieve prudent stewardship of public funds


The AAJ is governed by a five member Leadership Group. Each member is appointed by the American Institute of Architects to serve a five-year term in a rotation with the other members. During the course of the five-year term, each member will serve as Vice-Chair and Chair and act as a liaison to AAJ subcommittees. It is desirable that one member be an emerging professional, and one member be employed by a public entity.


Criteria for Leadership Group membership:

  1. Member in good standing of the American Institute of Architects
  2. Professional or academic standing in the criminal justice industry that would normally include significant project work related to courts, detention/corrections, or law enforcement facilities.
  3. Willingness and commitment to support the goals and strategic direction of the AAJ in collaboration with the other Leadership Group members, AAJ members, AIA Leadership, and AIA staff.
  4. The Leadership Group includes a variety of specialties, geography, firm size, gender, age, career stage, and race. *Positions are reserved for an emerging professional, and one member employed by a public entity.
  5. Ability and willingness to commit time toward the following activities:
  6. Annual attendance at 2-day summer AIA Knowledge Leadership Assembly (KLA) held each summer at various locations (including July prior to the term start date).
  7. Annual attendance at AAJ Conference held each fall at various locations.
  8. Participation in monthly LG conference calls.
  9. Participation in sub-committee work and sub-committee conference calls.
  10. Other activities as necessary to support the strategic direction of the AAJ.
  11. Ability and willingness to commit the financial resources to attend the above mentioned conferences with partial reimbursement from AIA.
    1. See note below about EP/public member financial support.


Year Rotation

The following rotation was adopted in 2014, and is suggested for subsequent years of service:

  1. First year: Member shall participate as liaison to one or more committees (sustainability, research, knowledge communications, justice partners, emerging professionals/university outreach, and local components (if applicable).
  2. Second year: Member shall serve as Vice-chair, assisting the Chair with planning for the upcoming year. Member shall also be liaison to one or more committees.
  3. Third year: Member shall serve as Chair and liaison to the AAJ Conference. As such, member shall choose the topic for the conference, select the conference planning chair and co-chair, assist in the selection of the track chairs, guide the communication among the planning team members, and participate in all planning activities for the conference. Member shall have no other committee responsibilities during this year.
  4. Fourth year: Member shall participate as liaison to one or more committees, and shall assist the Chair or AIA Staff with any special projects planned by the Leadership Group.
  5. Fifth year: Member shall serve as liaison to the Justice Facilities Review, and shall serve as liaison to one other committee.


Special Circumstances

  1. Public/owner leaders. The AAJ realizes that owner-side/ public members may not have access to financial support from their employer. The AAJ commits to responding to requests for reimbursement in a timely manner.
  2. Emerging Professionals. The AAJ is committed to ensuring at least one emerging professional participates in Leadership Group discussions and strategic planning.


Please submit the above information via  the online form 


Questions? Contact Bruce Bland at  bbland@aia.org


If you are interested in joining any of these subcommittees or submitting content, please contact aaj@aia.org.

Past Chair
Erin Persky, Assoc. AIA
Jay Farbstein & Associates
San Diego

2018 Chair
Melissa Farling, FAIA
Gould Evans, P.A.

Amy Finlayson, AIA, CPHC
Harvard Capital Projects

Greg Cook, AIA

Erica Loynd, AIA
DLR Group, Inc.

Committee Co-Chairs: Jay Farbstein, FAIA + Mallory Cusenbery, AIA      Liaison: Greg Cook, AIA

The AIA/AAJ Research Committee is committed to supporting design decision-making through scientific research for its members, in a user-friendly manner. Towards that objective, the subcommittee has successfully completed a number of initiatives over the past 7 years, including an original research study principally sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections, three workshop/seminars on applying neuroscience concepts to correctional and court facility research and research for sustainable justice facilities. In addition, the subcommittee is in the process of creating a user-friendly Justice Facilities Review database and is working with Infocomm International on a project to develop guidelines for video technologies in court proceedings. Learn more about the committee's work on AAJ Research webpage.

Committee Co-Chairs: Brooke Martin + Bob Schwartz, FAIA     Liaison: Erica Loynd

The AIA/AAJ Sustainable Justice Committee developed out of the following question: “Close your eyes and imagine it is 2030, and everything we have ever hoped for in creating a green, sustainable world has been accomplished. What do you see in the world of "...law enforcement?” “....detention/corrections?” “....courthouses?” Answering this question has been at the heart of the work of the AIA AAJ Sustainable Justice Committee over the last five years. Learn more about the committee's work on the AAJ Sustainability webpage.

Committee Chair: Kerry Feeney + Brooke Martin    Liaison: Greg Cook, AIA

The AAJ Communications Committee plans, writes, edits, and publishes four AAJ E-Journals annually.  The AAJ Journal features original articles focused on current issues specific to the justice market; highlights projects selected for the annual AAJ Justice Facilities Review; and, offers an “in the news” section where you can find information on upcoming AAJ events and programs.   The AAJ is grateful for Lift-U’s sponsorship of the journal. The AAJ Communication Committee welcomes suggestions and input so if you have an article you want published, or, you have ideas for article topics please contact the subcommittee chair. View current and past issues on the AAJ Journal webpage

Committee Chair: Graham Vickers, AIA    Liaison: Erin Persky

The Emerging Professional subcommittee is committed to evolving justice architecture and supporting the growth of professionals at the early stages of their careers who practice in this complex field.  The EP subcommittee strives to provide a platform for the dissemination of EP ideas; encourage EP involvement in all areas of AAJ; inspire collaboration among EPs on original projects; urge firm support of EP conference attendance, and stimulate career-long relationships among EPs.  The goal of this subcommittee is to create a foundation for future generations of justice architecture specialists. Please contact aaj@aia.org if you'd like to get involved.

For clarification: an AAJ Emerging Professional is defined as anyone with 0-10 years in the justice sector.

Committee Chair: April Pottorff, FAIA    Liaison: Erica Loynd

The AAJ University Outreach is dedicated to the growth, development, and expansion of our recent graduates and newly licensed architects. The goal of the committee is to provide guidance and exposure to all aspects of the profession with the help of our AAJ members and firms. If you are interested in joining this team, please contact aaj@aia.org.

Committee Co-Chairs: Nina Gladstone + Kristine Johnson      Liaison: Melissa Farling

The AAJ Fall Conference is an annual 2.5 day conference with sessions organized by members, keynotes, and local justice facilities tours, etc. The event attracts 200 to 300 people – the total spectrum of owners, design professionals, contractors, vendors, operators, and financiers, active within the criminal justice building community. We strive to have architects include their clients in the sessions so we have the opportunity to hear from both the architects/designer’s perspective as well as the owner/client. 

Jury Chair: Mallory Cusenbry    Liaison: Amy Finlayson

The Justice Facilities Review documents best practices in planning and design for Justice Architecture. Functionality and community impact, sustainability and economic feasibility, as well as aesthetic achievements are essential elements for identifying the success of these projects. The JFR jury is comprised of three architects and three professionals from the fields of Courts, Detention/Corrections and Law Enforcement. The Justice Facilities Review is published annually as print on-demand and digital book. The Research Committee is working on a database of all JFR recipients 2000-2012. Learn more about the program on the Justice Facilities Review webpage.

Add you or your colleagues name to the JFR jury pool by contacting aaj@aia.org

Committee Co-Chairs: Jim Beight, AIA     Liaison: Erin Persky

The purpose of the Justice Partners Committee is to establish a professional relationship with partner organizations including the American Corrections Association (ACA), American Jail Association (AJA), the National Association of Court Managers (NACM), and the International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP). Several of the accomplishments achieved as the result of this committee are:

  • A systematic procedure for selecting representatives from the partner organizations for participation in the JFR jury;
  • Reservation of slots at partner conference programs for AAJ participation;
  • Publicized notification of each other’s conferences to our memberships.

AAJ Local Components seek to link the activities of the national Knowledge Community to local members who may not be able to travel to the national conferences and other programs/events.  The local components sponsor presentations, facility tours, and exhibitions in New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Toronto.  They serve as a conduit for members interested in learning more about the Academy and justice architecture, through participation at the local level and as a vehicle for events sharing ideas and reflecting local concerns.

The AAJ has lessons learned guidelines available for any group of members interested in forming a local component in their area and stands ready to lend support and encouragement to that effort.  Some of the benefits of forming a local component include:

  • increased communication between practitioners and clients
  • professional development opportunities for emerging leaders
  • a public forum to promote best practices and celebrate significant achievements
  • creating a sense of community and shared interest amongst peer professionals
  • raising the standard of expertise by professionals, and expectation by clients

We hope that you will consider forming a new local component, or to support the programs of the existing locations.

JFR12 cover
Graphic recording by Karen Chan, AIA, of the AIA-AAJ Bay Area's Vision 2020: The Changing California Courtroom conference on 9/23/10 in San Francisco.

Some of the 2,000+ AAJ members have formed local and regional component committees to provide in-person dialogue, mentoring, and content. Interested in finding local AAJ members? Use the Advanced Search on AIA KnowledgeNet, by selecting "AAJ" as the community and the state in which you are located. Current components include:

AIA New York

AIA Bay Area (Calif.)

Boston Society of Architects/AIA

Canadian Academy of Architecture for Justice / Academie d'Architecture de Justice Canadienne