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CGL’s AOR Justice team, (now NELSON Worldwide), provided comprehensive master planning and design services for the San Rafael, Pococi and Perez-Zeledon Comprehensive Care Units (Unidades de Atencion Integral) in Costa Rica. Comprised of three campuses the medium and minimum security correctional facilities house 1,600 inmates in 272,533 square feet of space.

Costa Rica’s new UAI were envisioned as self-sufficient correctional facilities intended to function as rehabilitation centers. By providing dignified environments, humane conditions of confinement, and a variety of programs and services, these facilities strive to create a normative environment where inmates are afforded an opportunity for self-help and personal growth, educational and vocational skills development, and job readiness. This allows the period of incarceration to be used productively and in a manner that supports a successful reentry upon release.

During the planning and programming phase, CGL toured existing facilities/sites, conducted user interviews, held on-site focus groups and workshops, and developed detailed space programs and functional requirements for each of the facilities. CGL worked with the design team to develop housing unit layouts, facility concepts, and campus adjacency requirements.
Each campus was designed to create a secure environment that reinforces the facilities rehabilitative mission. The inmate housing was designed as 64 bed units organized around a central communal dayroom space that was naturally lit and ventilated.

The housing buildings were in turn organized to create large open courtyards with recreation and sports fields. The center of each compound includes a classroom building with computer labs, faculty offices and multiple classrooms, all organized around a central courtyard. An industries and vocational training building provides spaces for the inmates to learn a trade and participate in work activities. A large dining hall, central kitchen and staff dining area provide additional opportunities for inmate work. A large gymnasium serves multiple functions for recreational activities, large gatherings and performances and family visits. The complexes include a total of 21,000 SF of warehouse and receiving space designed to securely handle all of the incoming and outgoing deliveries and materials for the complexes. Offices and support space for administrative, programs and security staff are provided in the main entry buildings.