Planning a Juvenile Facility: Do You Need Help? (NIC Update)

Article excerpt

Due to a rising number of offenders entering the juvenile justice system, and the escalating severity of their offenses, many juvenile justice officials find themselves involved in the planning and design of new or renovated juvenile facilities. Unfortunately, planning large capital construction projects is not included in the job responsibilities of most juvenile practitioners. They often find themselves unprepared to take on the challenges of the planning process.

Working in conjunction with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Corrections Program Office, the National Institute of Corrections has designed a program for the planning of new institutions (PONI) for juvenile facilities. The program is designed to ensure successful facility planning or renovation by raising awareness of the entire facility development process. All phases of development, from the earliest planning stages through facility design, construction and occupation, are discussed. Then, the program's core curriculum explores those early stages in which the participant teams should be most effectively involved.

The Planning Process

Planning secure correctional facilities is a complex process, during which many decisions are made. Some will have long-term and costly impacts; others will be less costly, but no less important. A critical piece of the planning process is to ensure that the appropriate individuals make informed and timely decisions.

With input from a wide spectrum of those interested in the project in the early stages of construction, thoughtful, detailed planning can help a jurisdiction increase its chances of designing and constructing a facility that meets the needs of its juvenile offenders and the community.

Do You Need Help?

Following are some frequently asked questions about the PONI for juvenile facilities program. These may help decide whatever assistance is needed.

What should be considered during the construction/design process? Participants should have an overall understanding of the facility development process. The program is designed with modules to guide participants through the process. Participants must understand the various stages of the construction/design process, the participant's role in each stage of the process, what is accomplished and who is involved.

Is this training more essential with the juvenile population, given the different areas of concern regarding juvenile offenders versus adult offenders, i.e., education and treatment spaces? There are those who believe the program is more important for the juvenile offender population. …