About Us


Justice Planning Associates specializes in justice system operations, planning, and design. JPA's work philosophy is predicated upon thorough methodology, and a client-intensive and operationally-focused approach.

JPA consists entirely of former justice system practitioners who bring in-depth experience and a special commitment and operational concentration to the justice planning process. That commitment to the American System of law and justice, and to the effective and efficient operation of the courts, provides a more than ordinary incentive to develop workable facility and operational plans. The operational concentration on long-range and flexible planning insures that systems and facilities accommodate not only current organizational structures and operational practices, but the opportunity for inevitable change as well. JPA staff have experience in more than 150 projects across 30 states and in Canada. Programming and design assistance services have been provided for over 20 million square feet of space for new and renovated justice facilities, ranging in size from 30,000 to over 1 million square feet.



Michael F. Thomas is the President of JPA. Prior to founding JPA in 1989, Mr. Thomas served as Director of Court Services for South Carolina Court Administration. He was a principal author of the planning and design standards published under the title, The Courthouse: A Planning and Design Guide for Court Facilities. He also authored Courthouse Security Planning: Goals, Measures, and Evaluation Methodology, which provides practical guidance for jurisdictions engaging in comprehensive court security planning.He led the only projects to receive national honor awards for strategic planning: the Utah and Hawaii Judicial System Master Plans. He has been featured as a speaker on courts planning at the International Conferences on Courthouse Design and at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Operational Analysis

  • Caseload Management / Delay Reduction

  • Courthouse Security Evaluation and Planning

  • General Operational Planning

Strategic / Master Planning

  • Needs Assessment / Forecasting

  • Facility / Site Evaluation

  • Implementation Plan Development

Programming / Design Assistance

  • Spatial / Operational Programming

  • Building Stacking / Component Layouts / Courtroom Design

  • Courthouse Design Assistance / Move Management Assistance