Kristine Bishop Johnson is a director of HOK’s international Justice observe and the outgoing chair of the AIA’s Academy of Structure for Justice data group. Within the following Q&A, Johnson discusses why it’s important that architects affect the planning and design of justice services.
What led to you to justice structure?
I had the chance to intern with the Division of State’s Bureau of Abroad Buildings Operations. That have sparked an curiosity in embassy design and high-security constructing varieties. Considered one of my first initiatives out of faculty was to design the help companies constructing for a maximum-security state facility. That mission opened my eyes to the significance of offering areas for visitation and household interplay inside these safe services. I used to be hooked and have been designing within the justice and authorities sector ever since. I like the complexity of those mission varieties. You get the chance to work with broad segments of the group, perceive the wants of various customers and create areas that help security, therapeutic and rehabilitation.
What’s the most difficult side of what you do?
Overcoming misconceptions about justice structure. Sure, we design jails and corrections services, however justice structure is greater than that. It consists of courthouses, public security buildings and different authorities and municipal services. Our work impacts individuals at so many alternative touchpoints and infrequently at instances when they’re experiencing duress. As justice designers, we are able to problem the established order by educating group stakeholders and creating areas that reply to individuals’s wants—areas which might be calming, supportive and reinforce optimistic outcomes.
Why is it necessary to have designers on the desk when planning justice services?
Justice designers carry classes from throughout markets and disciplines. We all know firsthand what has labored in different jurisdictions and what has not, and we carry this evidence-based data to our initiatives. As a multidisciplinary agency, HOK additionally attracts insights from different markets, resembling our healthcare observe, and applies these classes to our justice initiatives. This has been significantly necessary in bringing behavioral well being options and trauma-informed design to justice buildings. Lastly, architects are consensus-builders by nature. We take time to hearken to the wants of all stakeholders—constructing occupants, employees, lawmakers, judges, group teams and facility operators—to make sure buildings meet the wants of all stakeholders, not simply the loudest voices.
What are examples of how trauma-informed design is bettering the rehabilitation of incarcerated people?
Most individuals throughout the felony justice system have skilled trauma. Whether or not it stems from habit, poverty, prior neglect or just being separated from household and buddies whereas incarcerated, these people are sometimes coping with psychological or bodily illnesses. Having them sit in a hardened cell to dwell on their issues doesn’t promote the therapeutic they require or present them the instruments wanted to re-enter society. Trauma-informed design, alternatively, seeks to supply environments which might be supportive and actually centered on rehabilitation. An instance of this may be discovered on the Ohio Reformatory for Ladies, the place the inmates helped us design a sensory backyard. The ladies look after and keep the backyard, offering them with private accountability and an actual sense of accomplishment. One other instance is the Joliet Inpatient Remedy Middle, a daylit-filled facility that gives residents with a number of psychological well being companies and a level of selection about how and the place they spend their days.
What do you inform individuals who stay against a agency like HOK taking part in justice work?
I might argue we share one thing in widespread: we each wish to enhance outcomes for these impacted by the felony justice system. Our approaches are simply totally different. We settle for the truth that pre- and post-trial justice services should not going away anytime quickly, so why not work on making them extra conducive to the wants of these in custody in addition to employees and guests? Why not use our seat on the desk with lawmakers and facility operators to teach them as to how spatial and operational impacts can help rehabilitation and decrease recidivism charges? I’d additionally let individuals know that HOK doesn’t work for establishments whose values don’t align with ours. For instance, we don’t design services that embrace solitary confinement or capital punishment areas, nor will we work for personal jail operators or design services meant particularly for immigration holding.
What excites you about the way forward for justice design?
I’m excited that increasingly jurisdictions are recognizing the advantages of trauma-informed design and treatment-focused approaches to justice. This additionally extends to courthouses the place extra judges are using treatment-based choices and alternate options to incarceration, resembling problem-solving or remedy courts. I’m optimistic this development will proceed, and we are able to reverse the stigma of justice services. As an alternative of being locations related to punishment, they are often regarded as group belongings alongside the strains of libraries, colleges and hospitals the place individuals obtain the companies they should dwell productive lives and be good neighbors inside their communities. To do that, we additionally must be aware of the place we web site these services and guarantee they’re accessible and open to the individuals most in want.