The City and County of Denver, Colorado, is building out and renovating the unfinished sixth and seventh floors of their jail’s east housing building, where they plan to relocate their female inmates.
Informed by thorough research, the design focuses on rehabilitation for women whose crime is typically trauma-informed, utilizing softer elements in the environment to provide support and ideally reduce the risk of repeat offenders returning to jail. Ample daylighting, a hearth space for community living and engagement, a mural for visual interest, and plastic furniture that resembles home furniture set the backdrop for these women’s rehabilitative environment. While the first priority is the safety and security of inmates and staff, it is important to create a normative environment based on safety, respect, and dignity. Increased privacy in bathrooms, considerations for family-friendly spaces, and acoustic treatment for noise-level reduction aim to accomplish a humane environment for the inmates.