Allegheny County Jail
L.R. Kimball provided architectural and engineering design and construction administration services for the new 2,403-bed Allegheny County Jail. This high-rise urban facility, which had unique local cultural requirements and a severely constricted construction site, includes a juvenile component, a large medical and mental health component, recreational facilities (gymnasiums, indoor and outdoor recreational areas), visiting areas, food service, and administrative space. Dormitory housing is provided for work release inmates. The facility has been organized in housing clusters according to functions that reflect various service delivery and program components. An objective inmate classification system is utilized to house inmates in units appropriate to the classification. Programs and activities offered within the individual housing unit depend on the custody classification of the unit. Security services and systems reflect a concept of housing and managing inmates in the least restrictive conditions necessary and moving inmates into less restrictive and less costly environments as their behavior and progress warrant. Inmates requiring maximum security conditions of confinement are housed accordingly in highly restricted and supervised units. Through thoughtful design, this facility makes it possible for the direct supervision operation to function well despite its large size and high-rise construction. Incorporated in the structure of each housing pod are an outdoor recreation area, a food servery, and visitation space. The latter area is supported by a separate visitors’ circulation corridor for every level of housing. All of these features reduce the need for inmate movement and enhance staff efficiency. Intake, food service, central stores, laundry facilities, and primary mechanical spaces are situated on the ground level, allowing easy access for booking, transfer, delivery, and maintenance purposes. The commitment to practicality of operation is readily apparent in the design of this facility.
The first phase of construction supported a capacity of 1,283 cells and 1,647 beds. Completion of the shell spaces added another 504 cells and 756 beds for ultimate capacities of 1,787 cells and 2,403 beds.
At the time of construction, this 896,050 square foot vertical correctional facility was reportedly the largest self-sufficient, freestanding county jail facility in the United States and it incorporated the latest principles of direct supervision and the related support areas.
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