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The Purpose of a Juvenile Detention Center

By Jennifer Smith

Juvenile detention centers house kids up to age 18 who have committed offenses ranging from habitually running away to assault. Adolescents are sent there by juvenile judges, rather than adult courts. Although they are restrictive facilities, their purpose is not necessarily punitive. Rather, their focus is intervention and rehabilitation.

Function

Juvenile detention centers are secure facilities. While there, juveniles pose no harm to society. Opportunities to harm themselves or fellow juvenile residents are limited. These centers may house anywhere from 10 to more than 100 juveniles at any one time. Their architectural design can range from campus-like with little resemblance to a correctional facility to prison-like.

Staff

Juvenile detention staff members are charged with assisting adolescents with their educational needs, as well as helping them make positive changes in their lives. The juvenile detention center in Franklin County, Ohio, has seven full-time teachers who provide instruction in math, science, social studies, English and special education. In addition to the educators, the center has a superintendent, a manager, corrections officers, councilors and tutors. The purpose of these individuals is to ensure that the needs of the residents are met.

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Programs and Remediation

Another purpose of a juvenile detention center is to provide programs and remediation for the youths who are detained. Programs such as as individual and group counseling and optional religious services are offered. Girl Scouts, victim's awareness, family responsibilities, career planning and work programs are among the activities offered at the juvenile detention center in Guadalupe Parkway, San Jose, California.

Benefits

Juvenile detention centers can help adolescents, even those who are repeat offenders, turn their lives around before they commit crimes as adults and wind up in prison. Well-run juvenile detention centers help adolescents develop insight, change their behavior and develop goals for themselves that they can pursue when they are released. The best-run centers have employees who can serve as role models, showing teens that they have choices in their lives.

Prevention/Solution

The overall goal of a juvenile detention center is to educate and provide a safe space where teenagers can take a timeout to understand their behavior and make a positive changes for the rest of their lives.

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