Dallas County Jail Medical and Mental Health Modifications

Architect: HDR

Location: Dallas

These recent renovations for the Dallas County Jail include separate medical and mental health clinics and establish the facility as a national model for correctional healthcare.


The Dallas County Jail Medical Modification is a one-of-a-kind facility renovation and modification of the lowest three floors of the Lew Sterrett North Jail Tower in Dallas. Operated by the county's nearby New Parkland Hospital, the jail modification creates a stand-alone, centralized medical-mental health services facility with a primary goal of limiting the number of inmate visits to Parkland's emergency room and the number of inpatient stays, while providing medical and mental health care for the jail's average population of approximately 6,000 inmates. While on-site correctional health is managed through a unique partnership with the nearby hospital, the improvements recently completed for the Dallas County Jail establish the facility as a national model for correctional healthcare.

With modifications to several floors of the west jail tower, mental health program spaces are now included, with two distinct aspects of the design solution that include segregated movement for mental health inmate patients and a secure suite for clinicians and staff movement. Mental health inmate patients have a separate path of movement through the facility to provide the proper treatment environments to increase positive outcomes. The core design of the treatment floor incorporates a secure suite to allow clinicians and security staff free and unobstructed movement between treatment areas in a secure environment, thus decreasing response times.

The renovated space includes separate medical and mental health clinics, dental office, a full service pharmacy, a radiology unit and two intensive care units, one for men and one for women, along with medical staff offices. As the first of its kind in the country it is expected to change the way inmates in county jails are cared for throughout the United States. In fact, the Department of Justice has mandated that county facilities nationwide plan to provide similar medical and mental health services.

Jury Comments

This is the first of its kind, dedicated to mental illness with an integrated full service approach. There is a clear segregation of the medical staff from the inmate circulation within the clinic areas, and strong interiors and medical planning.

Additional information

Civil: APM & Associates

Construction Manager: Hill International, Inc.

Consultant - Cost Estimator: Construction Cost Management

Consultant - Data & Communications: Wai-Wize

Engineer - HVAC & Plumbing: EnGlobal

Engineer - MEP: HDR

Engineer - Structural: Jaster-Quintanilla


2017 Justice Facilities Review Jury

Michael E. LeBoeuf, FAIA (Chair), Little, Orlando, Florida

Alfred Degranfinreid II, Metropolitan Nashville Government, Nashville, Tennessee

Daniel Redstone, FAIA, Redstone Architects, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

David Clusiau, Assoc. AIA, NORR Limited Architects & Engineers, Toronto

Kathy Schley, Battle Creek Police Department, Battle Creek, Michigan

Rona Rothenberg, FAIA, County of Alameda, Oakland, California

Thomas Hoepf, FAIA, exp, Chicago

Image credits

edited_Carol O'Donnell - DallasCntyJailMedModernization_Emily Hagopian_MedicalInfirmary

Emily Hagopian

edited_Carol O'Donnell - DallasCntyJailMedModernization_Emily Hagopian_MentalHealthDayroom

Emily Hagopian

edited_Carol O'Donnell - DallasCntyJailMedModernization_Emily Hagopian_DentalClinic

Emily Hagopian

edited_Carol O'Donnell - DallasCntyJailMedModernization_HDR_FloorPlan_MentalHealthDallas County A3 - FIRST L