Healing Justice: A New Architecture for Therapeutic Justice Administration in Kentville, Nova Scotia
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The Canadian criminal justice system is exemplary but imperfect, particularly for society's most vulnerable members. Increasingly, therapeutic methods of justice administration are using focused rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. This shift acknowledges that illness and personal circumstances can sentence individuals to repeated encounters with the justice system, and that treatment can disrupt that cycle. The law can be a therapeutic agent, but its efficacy is undermined and underserved by traditional courtroom architecture. This thesis proposes a new type of courthouse that combines judicial and therapeutic functions, and that engages with the surrounding community. Architectural strategies are employed to create healthier spaces, and to cultivate improved relationships between individuals, the justice system and their communities. Using the court-monitored drug treatment program in Kentville, Nova Scotia, as a test case, this thesis asks: how can the architecture of the courthouse physically and psychologically better support therapeutic forms of justice administration?