Firm's Role on the Project: To improve VCBR’s capacity to treat residents in a safe and multi-tiered environment that allows for increased responsibility and self-management as residents progress through the behavioral treatment program.
VCBR is a behavioral health facility serving a unique and highly complex population of formerly incarcerated residents. The goal of the project was to create a safe and therapeutic environment that promotes successful rehabilitation and transition back to society.
The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) operates the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR), a facility for sexually violent persons who, after serving their criminal sentences, are committed by the courts to the facility for behavior modification treatment. In 2013, DBHDS asked HDR to prepare a preplanning study to help determine the feasibility of expanding VCBR. Upon completion of the study and project approval, HDR was selected to design VCBR’s 2015 expansion and renovation.
The guiding principle of the project was to improve VCBR’s capacity to treat residents in a safe and multi-tiered environment that allows for increased responsibility and self-management as residents progress through the behavioral treatment program. This led to the decision to conduct an ongoing research study that will evaluate the hypothesis that the architectural design of the VCBR expansion may be associated with improved resident outcomes—both during treatment and after their release.
Relevant design features included space and circulation planning intended to mitigate security incidents. Transitional resident spaces were also incorporated to facilitate the development of residents’ daily living skills (crucial factors in their ability to successfully transition back into the community). Specific emphasis was placed on the creation of a treatment-friendly environment that emulates a small community to provide a normative experience for patients and staff alike. The facility currently lacks a modern, functional treatment mall—a critical aspect of the project. Once introduced, however, the new mall will unite existing and new components of the project in a “beyond state-of-the-art” approach to planning, design, and operations. Key program components include the large, centralized treatment mall; a park-like garden directly off the mall; educational, vocational, physical, and leisure activity spaces; and a variety of treatment areas (medical, dental, and behavioral health). Additionally, a 258-bed housing expansion will be established for special needs residents (e.g., medically and psychiatrically complex, intellectually disabled, and detainee and detention cases) as well as transitional populations