Chapter 3: General Design Guidelines
distanced from the U.S. Attorney, USMS, U.S. Probation, Pretrial Services, Bureau of
Prisons, or other law enforcement agencies.
The USMS Office and central cell block must be located in contiguous space, with a
public counter and controlled access to the office area. Access to the central cell block
and interview area must be secure. The office requires secure circulation from a secure
parking area. The central cell block requires secure access through a prisoners'
vehicular sallyport. From the central cell block, prisoners are normally transferred by
secure elevators to courtroom floors. Temporary prisoner holding cells, as well as
control and sallyport areas, are located adjacent to trial courtrooms.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The USBC hears only civil cases. Like the USCA, the
USBC needs only two circulation systems: public and restricted. In some locations,
jury trials can be held in bankruptcy courtrooms. When this occurs, USBC jury
facilities must be treated similarly to USDC jury facilities. For an overview of the
USBC's circulation and adjacency patterns, see Figure 3.3 at the beginning of the
USBC courtrooms are accessed by public and restricted circulation. Similar to the
USDC, ancillary spaces located near the bankruptcy courtroom include:
attorney/witness conference rooms accessed from public circulation; judge's
conference/robing room (provided only if the judge's chambers are not located close to
the courtroom) accessed from restricted circulation; and trial jury suite (provided if the
courtroom is equipped for jury trials) accessed directly from the courtroom or
If located in the building, the U.S. Trustee or Bankruptcy Administrator must have
access to the USBC Clerk's Office.
Although the USBC Clerk's Office must be accessible to the public, staff must have
convenient access to courtrooms, judges' chambers suites, law library, and USDC
Clerk's Office (if located in the same building).
Sizing Courthouse Support Spaces
Certain design decisions are based on the number of people served by the courthouse
(i.e., the number of exits and restrooms, the size of cafeteria, etc.). Most building
codes have ratios of square feet per person. Such ratios, which vary by building type,
generally yield an estimate far exceeding the actual population in court facilities. The
primary cause of this overestimation is the failure to adequately consider the following