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The prototype facility represents best practice in terms of design features that simultaneously enhance the safety of staff and youth while fostering the delivery of therapeutic services in a normative, safe and developmentally appropriate environment, rather than simply holding youth in secure custody. The CGL AOR Justice team’s (now NELSON Worldwide) approach and methodology was a five-phase process that included: a visioning session, user interviews and consultations that led to the development of a commission program, creation of conceptual building designs and a cost estimate.

The final result was the creation of a world class model youth facility that is on the cutting-edge, represents a paradigm shift in the use of secure confinement (from punishment and retribution to treatment and rehabilitation), and serves an icon to the movement of juvenile justice reform.

These facilities are small, youth-focused, residential-like, and imbued with a diversity of programs and needed social services for effective youth rehabilitation and development. The design of these models provides a secure setting that provides a small group of youth requiring higher levels of supervision in a safe, residential, therapeutic, and trauma-informed environment needed to work for their healing, compassion, and restoration.