Center for Equity - DJDS
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Center for Equity


Reimagining the Atlanta City Detention Center


Client: Racial Justice Action Center, Women on the Rise, City of Atlanta

Team: Deanna Van Buren, Kyle Rawlins, Tonyell Stewart, Brandi Mack, Shelley Davis Roberts, Oretola Thomas, Garrett Jacobs, Sabrina Siskind

Project Type: Adaptive Reuse — 471,000 square feet

Status: Feasibility Study complete


The Atlanta City Detention Center, located in the heart of Atlanta at Peachtree Street NW and Memorial Drive SW, is an 11-story, 471,000-square-foot active detention and arrest-processing center that has the capacity to house approximately 1,300 detainees yet is currently only hosting 100 detainees. It is a top priority of Mayor Bottoms to put this underutilized facility to more productive use as a multi-faceted center for wellness and healing, skills-building, economic mobility, and crime prevention, for people, families, and communities impacted by a history of over-incarceration.


Beginning in 2019, using the Concept Development Process, DJDS was part of the planning team selected to close and repurpose the jail. DJDS led the largest and most transparent community engagement process the Mayor’s Office has ever put forth. In May of 2020, DJDS presented the Mayor’s Office with a feasibility study that included four development strategies for a new Center for Equity. You can see the City’s report with the various working group’s recommendations here, and the full details of our four proposed concepts here.   We are currently waiting for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to announce a decision regarding next steps for the project. DJDS is continuing to advocate for the facility’s closure and reimagining, alongside our local Atlanta community organizer partners.


For more information about the process of this project, see Radically Reimagining Atlanta’s City Jail on Medium.