“Renovate or build a new facility?” It’s a question that all responsible stakeholders ask when considering how to remedy deficiencies within their jail facilities. What many people don’t know, however, is how complicated renovating a facility can be. It is crucial that decision-makers understand the myriad issues involved in renovating an existing jail, and in this episode we dive deep into the considerations involved in answering that important question:  “renovation or new construction?”


Lorenzo Lopez


For two decades, Lorenzo has planned dozens of county detention and CDCR projects, including correctional medical/mental health housing, juvenile, and re-entry facilities. He has been involved from program/concepts through the completion of construction of both new construction, additions, and renovations. Lorenzo is an expert in the code requirements for these facilities and consults with the California State Fire Marshal’s office on code authorship and interpretation of the building codes; he has chaired a committee to create an interpretive manual that architects and owners can reference to understand the complex requirements for justice-related occupancies. 

As a justice planner, Lorenzo understands operational and security needs, constructability, and the codes governing fire/life safety, and disabled accessibility. This expertise is critical for determining the feasibility of projects in pre-design phases and to set up projects up for success, ensuring design solutions are not compromised once these requirements are considered. 

Lorenzo is active within the AIA’s Academy of Architecture for Justice Knowledge Community, a national forum for the exchange of ideas with the goal of advancing the state of justice architecture. He is the former national chair/member of the leadership group.

Eric Sifuentes

CASp, Architect

Mr. Sifuentes is a licensed architect and graduate of Cal Poly Pomona. He is a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for both the Division of the State Architect and the California Architects Board. Eric’s formal architectural training, combined with the theoretical and practical working knowledge required for CASp certification, makes him uniquely qualified to effectively identify accessibility shortfalls in existing facilities and assist in the design of architectural improvements. Nacht & Lewis concentrates its work on public sector and government markets including; Education, Corrections, Justice, Public Safety, Civic and Healthcare. Eric lends his expertise to all firm projects, guiding the design process with respect to accessible design concerns and legal issues surrounding access to public facilities.

 As an active member of the accessibility community, Eric is involved in the CASI Institute which is a non-profit center for accessibility education. Eric is a founding member and current board member serving as Past President. In addition, Eric has been a guest speaker on the subject of accessibility at the Construction Specifications Institute and American Institute of Architects, Academy of Architecture for Justice conferences and at a California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation’s A/E Roundtable session.

Eric Fadness


Eric Fadness is a principal architect with Sacramento based Nacht & Lewis, where he leads the firm’s justice architecture practice. Over his 36-year career he has been dedicated to the design of justice facilities, with a primary focus on medical and mental health treatment, and re-entry environments. With additional studies and experience in urban planning, building security, facility risk assessment, and sustainability, he is an expert in design best practices and cost-effective planning of justice facilities. An active member of the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Justice he was a speaker at the 2019 Fall Conference “Next Generation Re-Entry – Overcoming Obstacles and Fears”.

Additional Information

Consent Decree: A consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the United States.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA): The purpose of the Prison Rape Elimination Act is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in federal, state, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.” (Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003.)

National Institute of Corrections’ Jail Design Guide

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Resources:

ADA Standards for Accessible Design: The Department of Justice’s revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) were published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. These regulations adopted revised, enforceable accessibility standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, “2010 Standards.” On March 15, 2012, compliance with the 2010 Standards was required for new construction and alterations under Titles II and III. March 15, 2012, is also the compliance date for using the 2010 Standards for program accessibility and barrier removal.

Title II: Title II applies to State and local government entities, and, in subtitle A, protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and activities provided by State and local government entities. Title II extends the prohibition on discrimination established by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 794, to all activities of State and local governments regardless of whether these entities receive Federal financial assistance.

Building Code Resources:

California Building Code (CBC): The CALIFORNIA BUILDING STANDARDS CODE (CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 24) is a compilation of three types of building standards from three different origins:

  • Building standards that have been adopted by state agencies without change from building standards contained in national model codes;
  • Building standards that have been adopted and adapted from national model codes to address California’s ever-changing conditions; and
  • Building standards, authorized by the California legislature, that constitute amendments not covered by national model codes, that have been created and adopted to address particular California concerns.

All occupancies in California are subject to national model codes adopted into Title 24, and occupancies are further subject to amendments adopted by state agencies and ordinances implemented by local jurisdictions’ governing bodies.  

CBC Chapter 12 – Interior Environment

I-3 Occupancy: “Institutional Group I-3 occupancy shall include buildings and structures that are inhabited by more than five persons who are under restraint or security. A Group I-3 facility is occupied by persons who are generally incapable of self-preservation due to security measures not under the occupants’ control. This group shall include, but not be limited to, the following: Correctional centers, Detention centers, Jails, Prerelease centers, Prisons, Reformatories…”

Legal Precedents referenced in this episode:

Armstrong v. Davis: ADA

Coleman v. Brown: Medical/Mental Health

Perez v. Tilson: Dental Care

Plata v. Schwarzenegger: Overcrowding/Medical/Specialized Care

Mays v. County of Sacramento: Conditions/Medical/Mental Health/ADA/Covid/HIPAA

Johnson v. Los Angeles County: Mobility impairments

United States v. County of L.A./Sheriff: Cruel and unusual punishment, medical/Mental Health care

U.S. v. Columbus Consolidated City/County Government: Crowding, dental, medical, Mental Health care, suicide prevention

Nunez and United States v. City of New York: Cruel and unusual punishment, Mental Health care

Spicer v. Williamson: “In Spicer v. Williamson, a physician sought recovery from the board of county commissioners for professional services rendered to a prisoner in the custody of the sheriff of the county in question…”

Estelle v. Gamble: “According to the Supreme Court of the United States, the general rule was that deliberate indifference to a prisoner’s serious medical needs constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and gave rise to a civil rights cause of action…”

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