Architectural design of a secure forensic state psychiatric hospital

Behav Sci Law. 2002;20(5):481-93. doi: 10.1002/bsl.506.


This article describes the architectural design of a secure forensic state psychiatric hospital. The project combined input from staff at all levels of the client organization, outside consultants, and a team of experienced architects. The design team was able to create a design that maximized patient dignity and privacy on one hand, and the ability of staff to observe all patient activity on the other. The design centers around 24-bed units, broken into smaller living wings of eight beds each. Each eight-bed living wing has its own private bathrooms (two) and showers (two), as well as a small living area solely reserved for these eight patients and their guests. An indoor-outdoor dayroom allows patients to go outside whenever they choose, while allowing staff to continue observing them. The heart of the facility is a large treatment mall, designed to foster the acquisition of social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral skills that will help patients to safely return to their communities.

MeSH terms

  • Architecture
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Health Facility Environment
  • Hospital Design and Construction*
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, State / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, State / standards
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Patients' Rooms
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisons / organization & administration*
  • Privacy
  • Security Measures
  • United States