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.

Letter from the Chair - 2016 AAJ Journal - Q2

By Kerry Feeney posted 07-22-2016 10:12 AM


I write this short note to all of you from the sidelines as this issue has Stacey Wiseman of CGL as its Guest Editor. Her work on this issue has been remarkable. With Stacey at the helm, it should come as no surprise that Quarter 2 focuses on juvenile justice facilities and specifically their relationship with education. Stacey has even included some video interviews – be sure to see Xenia Cox, an education activist, interviewing Rutgers student Boris Franklin in a diner! Curious yet? I know you will agree; Stacey has done a great job curating this important journal issue.

Don't miss the interview featuring Emerging Professional Brooke Martin. The dialogue is so personable and her energy for the work is genuine. It is hard to believe that Brooke somehow manages a career at Dewberry as she completes her Master's of Architecture degree. Her future is bright.

Without further ado, check out Stacey's letter for more!

Kerry Feeney
Chair – AAJ Communications Committee 2015

Letter from the Guest Editor:

Last November, I boarded a plane headed for Miami to attend my first AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) conference. Excited, and a little anxious, I was attending my inaugural conference as a scholar and moderator. There was no need for nerves; the experience was phenomenal. I met new people, attended as many sessions as I could, and learned a great deal from the keynote speakers. Since I was moderating a panel about juvenile justice facilities, I made sure to attend the other two sessions with a similar focus. Months later, it was these three panels that resonated with me the most.

As I reflect on these sessions, a key element stressed in all three presentations focused on how education serves as a transformative agent. In order to make a significant impact on reducing recidivism, it's vital for proven, innovative educational programs to exist in facilities designed to support their mission. As John F Kennedy remarked, "Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation."

In this AAJ journal, I assembled three different voices from the 2015 AAJ conference: an owner, an architect, and a reformer. All three perspectives describe an approach to correctional facilities with the aim to reduce recidivism through education.

In the first article, I had a follow-up conversation with Katherine Dixon, Director of Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' Division of Capital Construction and Facilities Maintenance, on the Educational Initiatives of the Baltimore Youth Detention Center. With collaboration by Principal Ms. Laura D'Anna, this article explains the curriculum of the Eager Street Academy.

Karen Sicner, an architect with Wakefield Beasley Associates, highlights how providing vocational training within juvenile justice facilities sets up youth for additional training or securing employment upon completion of their sentence. Ms. Sicner details recent initiatives from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, including the implementation at three Regional Youth Detention Centers in Georgia.

Finally, Xenia Cox, an education reformer, outlines the quantitative and qualitative successes of the Rutgers NJSTEP/Mountainview Communities. This article features a video interview with one of the students enrolled in the NJSTEP Mountainview program. Recently released after being incarcerated for eleven years, he explains how the opportunity of learning within the incarcerated environment led him to a continued and ongoing path of education upon his release.

It is with great pleasure that I can share these voices, experiences, and examples of programs working to reduce recidivism through education.

Stacey Wiseman
Guest Editor



Emerging professional profile of Brooke Martin
by the AAJ Communications Committee

Brooke Martin shares how her dreams at the age of 8 led to this career, her vision of a Net-Zero jail design, and why she considers justice architecture an amazing field to be in.

Education initiatives for the Baltimore Youth Detention Center
by Stacey Wiseman, AIA and Katherine Dixon, AIA

How do you develop a juvenile facility that helps youth with successful re-entry to society? Katherine Dixon shares how the Baltimore Youth Detention Center, under construction with expected completion in March 2017, will help answer that question with a focus on the classroom.

Opportunity and engagement: vocational programs in juvenile facilities
by Karen Sicner, AIA

Four years after a sweeping overhaul of Georgia's criminal justice system, the momentum towards reducing recidivism among youth offenders includes vocational training, both in and after detention. Innovation in juvenile justice affects facility design, with a focus on making the classrooms look more like a typical school facility.

Including end user voices in the design of jails and prisons
by Xenia Cox

Driven by their own belief in the power of design to support a restorative justice movement that is fast growing, a group of talented young architects assembled a cross-disciplinary team of change-makers to tackle the challenge of reimagining juvenile justice facilities. This team's process led to the foundational principle of great design – the voice and experience of the end user. Boris Franklin, now a student at Rutgers, shares his insight in a series of videos.