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Meeting the Distinct Needs of Girls: Progressive, Gender-Specific Design for Girls' Detention

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 67 Issue: 5 Dated: August 2005 Pages: 88-89,92,108
Barbara Morton; Leslie Glynn
Date Published
August 2005
4 pages
This article describes the design and features of a new Massachusetts detention facility for girls, which is currently in the design-development phase.
Currently, girls in Massachusetts juvenile detention and revocation programs are housed in a former boys' detention unit in a State mental health facility built in the late 19th century. Little modification has been done since the State's Department of Youth Services (DYS) took it over as a girls' detention facility in the mid 1990s. During the past 8 years, DYS has overhauled the girls' programming and services to respond to gender-specific issues, and a new facility is being planned to accommodate these programs more effectively. The new 45,500-square-foot complex will be built on the campus of Westborough State Hospital in the State's central region and will house girls ages 12 to 18. The overall design provides for 4 "houses," each with 15 girls in 4 double and 7 single bedrooms, with clustered toilets, showers, and grooming areas for each house. The design goal for the bedrooms is to make them as pleasant as possible while maintaining the girls' safety with suicide-resistant sprinklers, coat hooks, air supply and exhaust grills, hardware on doors, impact-resistant glazing, etc. The facility will have a separate intake section, which will allow staff to process new arrivals and conduct inventory control with more privacy and respect than is possible in the current facility. For easy access, medical services will be provided in a suite centrally located. Spaces for programming facilitate both group activities and private counseling. A direct-contact visitation area provides a child-friendly place for families to meet. Groundbreaking is scheduled for fall 2005, with an estimated 18-month construction period.