A correctional facility in San Diego County that is currently under construction has been designed to humanize what have historically been institutional and sterile detention environments.

The San Diego County Women’s Detention Facility (SDCWDF) is a $221 million project that is currently being constructed on a 45-acre site in Santee, CA. This new facility will replace the Las Colinas Detention Facility (LCDF), which has served as the county’s adult women detention facility since 1979.

When complete, SDCWDF will include 25 buildings, 1,216 beds and more than 500,000 square feet of building floor space including housing units, administration facilities, medical facilities, food service areas, a visitation center, a learning resource center and accommodations for employment programs and other services.

The design, aesthetics and experience of SDCWDF falls in line with an emerging trend in corrections. This new trend makes use of color, art and landscaping to create a more normalized environment to benefit both inmates and staff. It also makes use of furniture that is more aesthetically pleasing, made of materials other than steel and is more residential in appearance. This humanistic approach to design is believed to decrease inmate violence and reduce recidivism rates.

“Our design team researched this premise and studied facilities in Europe that have found success through the approach of humanizing correctional facilities,” said Pam Maynard, Director of Interior Architecture for HMC Architects, a firm that is part of the team designing and building the facility. “This research confirms that the environments in which people live, learn, heal and are governed in, can affect us both psychologically and physiologically in both negative and positive ways depending on various environmental qualities.”

To learn more about the design of the facility and why Norix Furniture products were selected, download our San Diego County Women’s Detention Facility case study here.