Academy of Architecture for Justice

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The Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) promotes and fosters the exchange of information and knowledge between members, professional organizations, and the public for high-quality planning, design, and delivery of justice architecture.

Registration Now Open for 2024 AAJ Fall Conference
Designing for Change:
Architects Transforming the Justice System

AAJ Sub-committees

By Brian D. McLaren AIA posted 12-31-2017 12:00 AM


There are many sub-committees of the Academy that help us fulfill our strategic goals. Learn more about becoming involved in a committee here or by contacting one of the committee chairs.

Leadership committee

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.

Research committee

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.

Sustainability committee

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 " 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.

Communications committee

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 of the AAJ Journal.

Emerging Professional committee

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 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.)

University outreach

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

Fall Conference committee

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.

Justice Facilities Review committee

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

Justice Partners committee

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.

Local Components committee

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 among 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.