U.S. Courts Design Guide
parking to chambers and to move between chambers, courtrooms, and other spaces
through restricted corridors. Access may be controlled by electronic access control
such as a card reader system.
Juror Circulation. Jurors must
move between floors
on restricted access elevators
without crossing public spaces or secure prisoner corridors. Freight elevators must
accommodate movement of up to 25 jurors at one time. The elevators must provide
access to jury dining facilities (if provided) from trial jury suites. The elevators may
need cab doors on opposite sides to serve both public and restricted corridor systems,
and should be provided an electronic access control system.
Service Circulation. Service circulation can be located within restricted circulation.
Prisoner Circulation. The building design must allow the USMS to move prisoners
from the vehicle sallyport into central holding facilities and to holding cells adjacent to
trial courtrooms without passing or entering public or restricted spaces.
Life Safety Systems. Life safety protection systems and emergency egress
requirements are prescribed by standards found in model national building, fire, and
electrical codes. Life safety and security systems must be examined closely to ensure
that the systems do not conflict. To coordinate security and fire prevention measures,
the design team should consult with both the USMS and GSA.
Emergency exit doors should open into the public entrance area under surveillance by
court security personnel. The public entrance area must also be designed as an exit
corridor. Emergency doors into the lobby must not be used for normal public
circulation. Emergency doors must be self-locking and equipped with either a local or
remote alarm at the USMS Command and Control Center. An interior CCTV camera,
monitored at the USMS Command and Control Center, must be provided. Where
permissible and as per code, emergency exits should be equipped with magnetic locks
or electric strikes connected to an alarm/time delay mechanism or the fire
alarm/sprinkler system. Electric locking systems on fire doors should be connected to
battery back-up power and connected to emergency generators. The systems must
remain locked during a power failure.
Secure Areas-of-Refuge. The security protection system must prevent the use of
emergency situations as a means to subvert the security of the judiciary. As part of the
integrated secure zoning and circulation system, a secure area-of-refuge in the USMS
area is required for protection of the judiciary during emergencies. In the event of an
emergency, the judges can convene in the USMS area. At that point, the USMS may
determine if evacuation of the building is required, and provide protection to the
judiciary when exiting the building. Judicial and prisoner elevator systems must recall
to the area-of-refuge in event of emergency.
In facilities with unusual design configurations, the secure area-of-refuge may be the
judges' parking area. In buildings with more than 10-12 stories, additional secure
areas-of-refuge may be necessary every 6-10 floors above the lower area-of-refuge.
The central cellblock must be designated an area-of-refuge for prisoners. In the event of