Juvenile Detainee Space Renovations Continue: Sight and Sound Separation

Efforts started this spring to complete Sight and Sound Separation (SSS) for juvenile and adult detainees at 36 sites across the Commonwealth. The project is required to bring the Commonwealth into compliance with federal regulations requiring that juvenile detainees be separated from sight and sound contact with adult detainees in court holding facilities. The Trial Court received a $426,350 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety to work on the first 11 sites selected for improvements. Facilities is working with the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to match that grant amount in order to fully implement the sight and sound separation recommendations at the initial 11 sites.

Mandated efforts to separate juvenile and adult detainees began in January 2011 with the Assessment Task Force and Time Phasing Committee’s first meeting; site audits were underway by April 2011. The Executive Office of the Trial Court, DCAMM, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and the Department of Youth Services will participate in each SSS site assessment and audit until all 36 locations are complete.

The Committee recently began auditing the second group of sites. Facilities anticipates this second audit will be done by the end of the summer, with renovations to follow shortly after that.

Renovations are already underway at three sites:

  • Barnstable District Court
  • Hingham District Court
  • Lynn Juvenile Court

Work will be initiated in FY16 on the remaining eight sites:

  • Attleboro District Court
  • Cambridge Juvenile Court
  • Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court
  • Dudley District Court
  • Lowell Juvenile Court
  • Norfolk County Juvenile Court (Quincy)
  • Orleans District and Juvenile Courts (located in one building)
  • Southern Berkshire District Court (Great Barrington)

Separate and Secure Waiting Areas Near Completion

After three years of collective effort, the Trial Court has nearly completed its mandated Separate and Secure Waiting Areas (SSWAs). Four designated sites existed when G.L. c. 258B passed in 2010 mandating separate areas to protect victims and witnesses. Per the legislative statute, the Trial Court filed its latest progress report in July. As of July 1, 2015, 83 of the 91 facilities that were identified as needing SSWAs are now complete.

Facilities expects to complete work on three of the remaining eight locations this year, at the Peabody, Lynn and Barnstable District Courts. The final five locations are set to be completed by the end of FY16.

Despite limited resources and space in many of the older court facilities slated for SSWAs, Trial Court staff around the state worked diligently to locate acceptable spaces for SSWAs at their courthouses. Local court staff also helped with the original site visit assessments, and worked closely with Facilities to draft and implement plans accurately and efficiently. Facilities Management would like to extend particular thanks to Mr. Richard L'Heureux of Court Capital Projects and Ms. Mary Gorham, Manager of Leased Facilities, for spearheading final efforts to complete this complex and large-scale project.

July-Aug 2015 eNews Facilities SSWA chart

Investing in Our Workforce: Training and Professional Development

Facilities, in collaboration with the Judicial Institute (JI), ran its second annual “Summer Sizzler: The Common Denominator of the Trial Court.” The two-day training, set up by the JI, is geared towards helping those in supervisory roles be more effective managers. Around 60 people attended the training this year, nearly double the number who completed the course in 2014.

“As the Facilities Department completes its reorganization, those in newly created management-level positions will benefit from this special training program, which has been designed to support our growing team,” says Facilities Director John Bello.

Day One of the training overviews the “basics:” personnel issues, fiscal policies and procedures, and supervisory skills. The second day covers managing and working within a multicultural workforce, and includes inclusion, communication and team building exercises.