Ushering In a New Era of Public Safety

Maricopa County, AZ

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Challenge

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Maricopa County is the fourth largest county by population in the U.S., with over 300 people being processed through the intake system each day. The previous intake center was ill-equipped to handle the amount of traffic, increasing the intake process time, keeping officers off the streets longer than necessary.

Outcome

In 2015, Maricopa County officials approved the $185 million Phase I of the Maricopa Jail Master Plan which included a new Intake, Transfer, and Release (ITR) and Detention Facility. The new ITR facility also includes four courthouses, judges' chambers, and administrative and staff support areas.

Impact

The new facility is designed to improve the efficiency of the intake and release process, provide adaptability for the county to address the current needs of the community, offer improved access to mental and medical health services, and respond to future environmental changes.

Deputy Chief Brian Lee

One of the things that we saw was local law enforcement officers spending a lot of time in the intake process. We want to address some of those situations and be responsible with taxpayer dollars in general.

A Need for A New Justice System

As the nation's fourth-largest county in terms of population, Maricopa County's current jail struggled to support the amount of traffic and bookings coming through the facility. With an average booking time of four hours, officers were being kept from patrolling the streets. In 2015, the county approved the $185 million Phase I of the Maricopa Jail Master Plan which included a new Intake, Transfer, and Release (ITR) detention facility to help reduce booking times for arrestees and provide a more adaptive approach to population management.

As the lead planner/programmer and consulting architect to Arrington Watkins Architects, CGL's team began engaging with the county to develop a conceptual plan for the new facility.

Cross-Team Collaboration Between All County Groups

The development of the conceptual plan of the new facility required input from each of the key 16 user groups within the county. A subcommittee group made up of division leaders of each stakeholder group was created to develop a process to identify and address the needs of all departments. This group consisted of every department involved in the justice cycle, including members of the county and city courts, detention, support services, transportation, prosecuting and defense attorneys.

This highly collaborative effort allowed the project team to identify the stakeholders’ shared goals of reducing inmate recidivism, improving efficiencies for the county and local law enforcement, and creating better outcomes for those entering and exiting the county justice system. By addressing and capturing needs early on, the team was able to develop an agreed-upon program and operational strategy early in the design process.

A New All-in-One Facility

This new adaptable replacement facility is equipped to help inmates reassimilate into the community by providing treatment and educational programs aimed at reducing recidivism and allowing quick access to physical and mental healthcare services onsite.

A Humanized Approach to Intake, Transfer, and Release

One of the most considerable benefits of this new facility is a faster intake process. The county utilizes an open-seating design at the various stages of the intake process and a direct supervision approach, allowing low-risk offenders to move through the justice system process in 24 to 48 hours or less with a reduction in intake time from over four hours to under one. This ensures better outcomes for those who enter and exit the county justice system and allows those at low risk to stay connected to their communities, maintain employment, and maintain their family structure.

Deputy Chief Brian Lee

We wanted to restrict the amount of movement. We wanted to have a better idea of people's medical conditions and their classifications and things like that. So it was really important to us to have that flexibility in the space.

Adaptive Design to Support Changing Needs

Maricopa's new, progressive Intake, Transfer, and Release Facility is designed to provide adaptability for the county to address the current needs of the community and prepare for future needs. The center will be able to accommodate changes that take place over several years without requiring major remodeling, limiting the need for additional taxpayer dollars and quickly adapting to rapid expansion or reduction in inmate populations for years to come.

By the Numbers:

The new 485,000-square-foot facility features:

  • A 1,280-bed jail meant for long-term stays, which will replace the aging Durango Jail
  • A new 512-bed holding area for those expected to be released within 72 hours
  • A 189,000-square-foot central intake facility, which will replace the current facility at the 4th Avenue Jail downtown
  • Four courtrooms, which will allow the county to accommodate court appearances on site
  • 260,000-square-foot detention center that includes administrative and staff support areas, educational programming, and healthcare and kitchen facilities.

Benefits:

  • Faster intake and release times
  • Reduced transportation costs
  • Taxpayers savings
  • Better outcomes for low-risk offenders
  • 260,000-square-foot detention center that includes administrative and staff support areas, educational programming, and healthcare and kitchen facilities.
  • More transparency and access to courts
  • Quick access to medical and mental health services - Humanized approach to jail operations

Interested in learning more about this project or other work?