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Deanna Van Buren


Deanna Van Buren is the co-founder, design director, and executive director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS). An architecture and real estate development non-profit working to end mass incarceration through place-based solutions, DJDS builds infrastructure that address the root causes of mass incarceration: poverty, racism, unequal access to resources, and the criminal justice system itself.

Unlike the traditional adversarial and punitive architecture of justice—courthouses, prisons and jails—Van Buren creates spaces and buildings for restorative justice, community building, and housing for people coming out of incarceration. Examples include restorative justice centers, which bring offenders and victims together to repair the relationship breach caused by a crime and build pathways to reconciliation; mobile resource centers, which deliver economic, educational, and social resources to under-resourced communities; and re-entry housing for people coming out of incarceration.