Maine Department of Corrections Southern Maine Women's Reentry Center

Maine Department of Corrections Southern Maine Women's Reentry Center

Rehabilitation, education, and preparation for a positive reentry to society. These were the outcomes that informed SMRT’s programming and planning for the new, 96-bed Southern Maine Women’s Reentry Center.

Designed to house women serving a minimum-security and community-release sentence, the building’s residential and educational aesthetic anticipates the transition out of the corrections environment and contributes to some of the lowest recidivism rates in the nation.

Residents have the freedom to leave the facility to go to work or to volunteer, and upon return, can participate in instructional and wellness programming in a variety of spaces including a traditional classroom, yoga studio, teaching kitchen, and on-site vegetable gardens.

Client
Maine Department of Corrections
Location
Windham, ME
Square Feet
29,200
Completion Date
2017
Awards
AIA Academy of Architecture, Justice Facilities Review Program: Published (2019)
A fenced-in recreation area provides outdoor space for the residents and views of the landscaped grounds.
The residents of Southern Maine Women’s Reentry Center were critical to the design of the facility. Their involvement in visioning sessions inspired one of the guiding design themes, “Waves of Change, Oceans of Possibilities.” The new facility emulates and expands upon the cutting-edge, gender-responsive programming that Maine’s Department of Corrections was developing.
A couple of women lounge in a seating area next to a wall of windows providing natural light. Resident rooms surround the space on the far wall.
Residents come together in a central great room, situated at the intersection of all four housing areas. This space also enables staff straight-line visibility into every space, perfect for quickly surveying happenings and resident well-being.
Brightly painted duct work provides a colorful accent to the central great room. To the left, upholstered chairs and couches create a lounge space for residents. To the right, tables and chairs provide room for activities.
Coupled with the visioning aspirations of the user group, the design team was challenged to find creative ways to elevate the aesthetic of the facility while achieving the durability and maintainability standards required within a correctional environment. To accomplish this, designers utilized more conventional, cost-effective materials—but supplemented them with oceanic-themed colors, textures, and patterns.
Beyond the blue lounge chairs in the foreground, women are seated at the tables and chairs in the central great room with views through expansive windows to the outside.
A wooden staircase leads to the second floor of resident rooms.
The outdoor space of the center includes a volleyball court and picnic tables.
Sleeping rooms are modeled after college dormitories with wooden furniture, personal storage space, and large exterior windows.
A room with two wooden beds, a wardrobe, and desk. There is a large window on the fall wall.
Photography by Megan Booth.
Green foliage contrasts the warm wooden exterior of the Southern Maine Women's Reentry Center.