Stanislaus County Public Safety Campus
Associated Architect: Lionakis, Dewberry, LDA Partners, Pacific Design Associates
Location: Modesto, CA
Awarded a citation
This campus offers a continuum of care for the detainees.
Stanislaus County had a chance at a fresh start. In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown toured the County’s deteriorating, 1955 jail. Upon viewing its outdated linear design with open bars at the front, long corridors and battered infrastructure, it was clear to all that the jail was not suitable to accommodate current needs—not only the building’s poor condition, but the lack of medical, mental, or behavioral health spaces. Even the program spaces were an afterthought. After the Governor spoke to several inmates, the Sheriff described to him ideas for a new campus just ten minutes away.
"This campus provides a full continuum of service, and this full continuum is represented nicely in the site planning of the facility. The gesture of calling it the Day Reporting Center was gracious and generous, because when you check back in later, you’re symbolically not returning back to the jail." ~ Jury comments
The proposed campus would not only respond to the current needs of inmates and provide contemporary treatment and program spaces, it would also reinvent incarceration practices to help break the cycle of incarceration. It was a bold idea to add four new buildings to the existing small campus to prepare detainees for a productive and meaningful life. Completing this audacious vision would take about six years and required collaboration from many stakeholders. The vision emphasized caring for the new inmate population, providing preventative substance abuse programs and treating those with mental or medical issues.
The architecture is sturdy and civic. The spaces emphasize wellness and healing through natural light, soft materials, and soothing color palettes. Alone, the buildings provide thoughtful and meaningful care for inmates, but when viewed as a whole, the campus offers uniquely comprehensive services. In early 2018, the fourth and final building was dedicated. The 1955 jail is no longer used for detention purposes and the envisioned Public Safety Center now offers a complete continuum of care for inmates. The new beginning at the Public Safety Center likewise offers those detained in the County an opportunity for a fresh start to their lives.