Detention of Juveniles in general is the temporary care of children in physically restricting facilities (Ward 7-5). The primary basis of detention is usually the seriousness of the offense (Ward 7-5). Whether the juvenile is held for a period of time in detention depends on the outcome of a detention hearing, where the appropriateness of the detention is determined (Champion 500). Juveniles are guaranteed a detention hearing within 24-48 hours, this hearing is before a judge (Ward 7-5).

The judge then decides whether to release the juvenile or to continue the detainment.

The judge often looks to the probation department to help make the decision of continuing detainment, because the probation department has more background on the juvenile to help with the decision (Ward 7-5). If a the judge decides to detain the juvenile for a period of time after their hearing there are two types of detention centers that they can be sent to. There are non-secure facilities and sec!

Non-secure custodial facilities according to Champion “are those that permit youths freedom of movement within the community.

Youths are generally free to leave the premises of their facilities, although they are compelled to observe obvious rules, such as curfew, avoidance of alcoholic beverages and drugs and participation in specific programs that are tailored to their particular needs” (Champion 485).

Examples of these non-secure facilities are foster homes, group homes, camps and ranches, and wilderness programs, family group homes and rural programs (Ward 7-13). The first example of non-secure detention is the Hope Center Wilderness Camp.

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This is an apparently successful camp located in Houston, Texas. “This camp has an organized network of four interdependent living groups of 12 teenagers each.

The camp’s goals are to provide quality care and treatment in a nonpunitive environment, with specific emphasis on health, safety, education, and therapy. Emotionally disturbed youths whose offenses range from truancy to murder are selected for program participation” (Champion 493). “Participants are involved in various special events and learn to cook meals outdoors, camp, and other survival skills. Follow-ups by camp officials show that camp participants exhibit recidivism rates of only about 15 percent” (Champion 493). The next non-secure facility is The Department of Juvenile Justice’s Non-Secure Detention (NSD) program.

This program offers an alternative to secure detention for some of the young people remanded to the Department’s custody (DJJ 1). Through a network of group homes, NSD provides structured residential care for alleged juvenile delinquents who are believed to require a less restrictive setting while awaiting disposition of their cases in Family Court (DJJ 1). In accordance with statutory requirements, NSD facilities are characterized by the absence of physically restrictive hardware, construction and procedures.

They offer juveniles a supportive family like environment and close supervision during their time in detention (DJJ 1). Juveniles are ordered into the custody of Department of Juvenile Justice by a Family Court judge may be assigned to NSD in one of two ways: The judge may order the juvenile specifically into NSD or, the judge may order the child into custody and allow DJJ to decide whether secure or non-secure detention is appropriate (DJJ 2). In the latter case, Department of Juvenile Justice staff makes the determination based on an initial assessment (DJJ 2). NSD accepts both boys and girls into the program. They range in age from 7 to 16 years; the average age being 15 years. The average length of stay in 1999 was 23 days in the NSD facility (DJJ 2). The Department of Juvenile Justice oversees a network of 13 group homes in New York City (DJJ 2). The juveniles that are in NSD attend school and participate in recreation, group counseling and tutoring (DJJ 2).

Secure custodial facilities according to Champion “are the juvenile counterpart to adult prisons or penitentiaries” (Champion 486). Secure juvenile detention is the temporary placement of kids in locked facilities pending disposition of delinquency charges. They should serve two purposes, to assure that children appear in court at the proper time and protect the community by minimizing delinquent acts while their cases are being processed.

An example of a secure detention facility set up by the Department of Juvenile Justice is the Horizon Juvenile Center and Bridges Juvenile Center. However, many youths that enter secure detention leave very quickly, 37 percent are released within three days, 58 percent within ten days (2DJJ 4). All youth spend their first week-and-a-half on Intake Orientation living units at Bridges Juvenile Center (2DJJ 4). Medical, educational and social service assessments are conducted during this period. Residents participate in a formal orientat!

ion program where they receive information about services in secure detention and general health issues (2DJJ 4). After approximately 10 days in Intake, the youth is transferred to a residential unit at Horizon (or Crosroads) Juvenile Center. Case conferences, involving medical, educational, recreational and social service staff as well as a family member, are held periodically for each resident (2DJJ 4). Follow-up medical and dental care and a full daily schedule of school, recreation and counseling provide the youth with comprehensive services and activities that correspond to his or her needs, interests and abilities (2DJJ 4).

This program is designed to teach residents that they are responsible for their own behavior, to encourage them to respect the rights and feelings of others and to adhere to institutional rules, DJJ’s behavior management system is an important part of each residents day (2DJJ 4). This incentive system promotes good behavior with rewards such as extra phone calls, a radio, later bedtimes and access to the Department of Juvenile Justice’s commissary and resident lounge (2DJJ 4). The program discourages negative behavior with penalties that restrict privileges and choice of recreational and leisure time activities (2DJJ 4).

All of the following figures are according to the Department of Juvenile Justice which provides secure and non-secure detention for juveniles in New York City pending adjudication of their court cases or transfer to New York State Office of Children and Family Services Institutions after disposition or sentence.

In Fiscal year 1999, the Department of Juvenile Justice had 6,844 admissions to detention: out of this 5,301 were sent to secure detention while 1,543 were sent to non-secure detention (3DJJ 1). Of the youths admitted to secure detention during the 1999 school year, 90 percent read below the seventh grade level, and although their average age is fifteen; 83 percent had math skills below that level, 25 percent read below the fourth grade level, and approximately 60 percent of the students received special educational services (3DJJ 1). There are many different types of detention facilities that juveniles can be sent to. The facility that a juvenile is sentenced to must meet their specific needs and circumstances surrounding their offense.

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Youth Detention Counselor. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Youth Detention Counselor
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