rafting Jackson County’s courtroom for both function
and security required careful and deliberate planning
as well as extensive collaboration between many parties.
Ayres Associates’ architects received input from County
Board members, County officials, law enforcement officials,
and the end users and staff. The architects also had to
collaborate with, and receive design approval from, the
Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the Wisconsin
Chief Judge for the district.
Security and functionality design factors:
• Providing separate and secure entrances to the
courtroom for the judicial staff, public, and prisoners/
law enforcement. Each entrance/exit had its own unique
requirement for the level of security and access.
• Providing a secure means of transferring a prisoner
from the jail to the courtroom. “If the detainees mix
with the public at all, there’s a big chance of a mistrial,
not to mention the passing of a weapon or other
paraphernalia,” said Steve Hoecherl, Ayres’ project
• Providing temporary holding rooms adjacent to the
courtrooms for prisoners that have left the jail and are
awaiting trial. These holding rooms must meet the design
requirements set forth by the Department of Corrections
for safety and security.
• Providing an entrance for the judge that is directly
adjacent to the bench and an entrance for the jury that is
directly adjacent to the jury box.
• Placing the judicial bench to allow the judge to have a
direct sight line to public entrances and full vision to the
• Designing a judge’s bench of a size and height to deter
physical attacks. The design of the bench, as well as
the court reporter and clerk stations, included a bullet-
• Locating lighting panels and controls to allow only court
staff to have access.
• Locating the witness stand to ensure proper visibility
of the witness by the judge, jury, court reporter, and
• Providing impact-/bullet-resistant glass at service
• Providing security cameras and duress/alarm buttons
throughout the facility.
• Providing a security electronics system to monitor
cameras, doors, and alarms and to provide facility lock-