Philadelphia, December 20, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by City officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center (PJJSC) in West Philadelphia. The PJJSC is a secure, short-term residential detention facility for youth ages 13-20 with social and educational programs which aim to steer children accused or found guilty of crimes away from further illegal conduct.
“The new Juvenile Justice Services Center represents years of planning and collaboration,” said Mayor Nutter. “The building reflects Philadelphia’s commitment to addressing the needs of our citizens: the security needs of our residents and the social-service needs of at-risk youth as they develop into productive, contributing citizens.”
Located at the corner of 48th Street and Haverford Avenue, the PJJSC is easily accessible by public transportation or car. The $110,000 million, City-funded Center has more than 160,000 square feet and beds for more than 150 residents.
“The goal of the Center is to help young people who are involved in the juvenile justice system make better decisions and improve the trajectory of their lives,” said DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose. “This new facility embodies our belief that given the right support, children have an immense capacity for change.”
The PJJSC features 10 classrooms, a gymnasium, a health clinic, outdoor recreation spaces and a garden for residents. Visitation space includes a play area where volunteers can baby-sit young children and rooms where youth can meet with their families, lawyers, social-service providers and probation officers. Family Court courtrooms, Judges’ chambers and conference rooms are also on site.
The Honorable Kevin Dougherty, Administrative Judge of Family Court said, “Philadelphia is working hard to improve outcomes for youth involved with the justice system and the courts. The design of this new facility allows for enhanced programming to better meet the needs of young people we are serving to maximize opportunities for their transformation.”
The PJJSC is a model site for several city-wide initiatives. It is the largest City project built to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, and it was a pilot site for a city-wide effort to employ more women and minority contractors in public projects. Site-specific artwork was commissioned for inclusion in the PJJSC as part of the City’s ‘Percent for Art’ program. Two Philadelphia-based painters were chosen to decorate the lobby, the community room and the second-floor waiting area. A documentary by Greenhouse Media featuring the artists’ creative process will be displayed in the building.
More than 15 City departments, agencies and programs are affiliated with the PJJSC, and major tenants of the facility will include the Department of Human Services, the Juvenile Justice Division, Family Court, the School District of Philadelphia, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender Association, and the Department of Public Property Facilities Division.