WATCH LIVE

A New Judicial Center for Penobscot County 

It’s a move that had been planned for years. Penobscot County District and Superior Courts have relocated across town into a new, 36-million dollar building.While the new courthouse in Bangor looks different than its predecessors, folks there say it’s better equipped for what people need today.This building will handle everything from family matters to serious criminal cases. They’ve combined two courts, three buildings, and all the personnel that comes with them.”You’re always going to have a kink or two, but on the whole, things have gone pretty smoothly,” says Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Warren Silver.He says a key feature at the new spot– security. The Penobscot Judicial Center has three separate sets of hallways to keep distinct groups apart.”One for the public that comes in through entry screening, one for the staff at the back of the house, and a third for prisoners,” Silver says.”And the safety of the public is paramount for the court system right now,” says Chief Justice, Leigh Saufley. “We’re actually seeing a lot more tension and a lot more physical altercations in courthouses.””No more meeting prisoners in hallways and having them sit on benches in public areas. That way, victims are protected,” Silver says.There are also more conference rooms for more privacy. In family courtrooms, there’s more seating, to allow for situations involving many people.Also central to the new building is technology.”We have a major televideo capability here,” Silver says. “We’re about to start arraignments over televideo, so prisoners don’t need to be transported from the county jail over here.”Saufley says Silver and his team identified these needs for the building through years of research.”This courthouse represents the best of all the designs they saw,” she says. “And at the same time, incorporates the energy efficiency and safety and technology that the public is going to need over the next 200 years.”