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.

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Jails within communities

  • 1.  Jails within communities

    Posted 10-31-2017 13:27
    "the jail is part of the community and the community of part of the jail" Sheriff C.T. Woody Jr.
    Even though this is a well known fact, why do you, as design professionals, feel this concept is hard for others to understand? what are ways we can help change the perception of local jails within communities?

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    Christian Springfield
    Wakefield Beasley and Associates
    Dawsonville GA
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    AAJ Fall Conf


  • 2.  RE: Jails within communities

    Posted 05-29-2019 18:54
    First off, stop calling them jails. The ACA refers to them as Adult Detention Facilities. Most civilians conflate jails and prisons, use the terms interchangeably.  Most don't realize the difference, i.e. that jails are (largely) for pre-trial detainees. By referring to them as Adult Detention  centers/facilities/whatever, it separates them better in people's minds from a) juvenile facilities, and b) prisons. The distinction is critical - a significant percentage of detainees are soon to re-enter their communities, after a shorter duration out of them. It is in everyone's best interests to support them, to assist in that re-integration, both because it's the right thing to do but also, from a self-interest standpoint, the sooner and better someone recently released from jail can re-integrate, the less likely they are to re-offend. In my mind, for the majority of detainees, adult detention facilities should be framed more as part of the restorative health care and social services systems rather than as part of the retributive criminal justice system. One encouraging wrinkle in this is the relatively recent emergence of Restorative Justice courts, a diversion and healing effort that can also help with re-integration. "Jail" is where Al Capone goes (he was actually a guest at the old Cook County Jail whose facilities I oversee). That neighbor of yours, who had the worst day of his life and ended up behind bars and in front of a judge, is someone we want to help get restored as a productive and healthy member of the community. Apples and oranges...for the most part.

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    Eric Davis AIA
    Deputy Director, Capital Planning
    Cook County Government
    Oak Park IL
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    AAJ Fall Conf