Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center

Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center

Michael McMillen, AIA
Currently JSG Justice Design Director

The Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice started planning for the development of a new juvenile detention and courts center in 1990.  With the passage of funding legislation in 1996, a site adjacent to the central business district in downtown Baltimore was selected, and planning activities began in earnest.

This project involved the development of a unified juvenile courts center, including central intake/booking for the city of Baltimore, all juvenile court related agencies (probation, district attorney, public defender), central courtrooms and support spaces, and a 144 detention center serving all youth awaiting court appearance.  In addition, youth related services such as family intervention and arbitration are provided at the facility.

The Juvenile Justice Center occupies an entire city block and serves as a bridge between urban downtown areas and the adjacent residential community.  Design efforts focused on the development of user-friendly and public oriented courts components, including outdoor areas that serve as a buffer to detention components.

Residential components, though secure, are arranged to provide extensive natural lighting, access to exterior recreation spaces, ease of internal circulation, and a wide variety of daily programming opportunities within the context of direct supervision and advanced resident management practices.  

Each group of four units is arranged about an integral multipurpose space used for a variety of residential activities by each of the housing units.  Site lines are clear and direct, and residents are easily supervised at all times.