The New York
City Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) provides Secure
Detention for alleged Juvenile Delinquents (JDs) and Juvenile
Offenders (JOs), ages 10 to 15 who are awaiting resolution
of their court cases. Custody and care are provided in a
safe, secure and service-oriented program in DJJ's Secure
Detention facilities. Childcare advocates and juvenile corrections
experts have called DJJ's services a "model program
for Secure Detention for juveniles."
Until 1998, Spofford
Juvenile Center in the Bronx was New York Citys sole
Secure Detention facility for juveniles. DJJ vacated Spofford
on August 1, 1998. On January 18, 1998, DJJ opened Horizon
Juvenile Center, a state-of-the-art 124-bed, Secure Detention
facility, located in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.
On the same day, DJJ also opened its second secure facility,
Crossroads Juvenile Center, located in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
To address the
need for capacity, DJJ upgraded and refurbished three wings
of the Spofford building. On December 29, 1999, DJJ re-opened
the former Spofford building as Bridges Juvenile Center.
Bridges is an Intake/Admissions facility with a capacity
of up to 150 beds. Bridges also houses state-ready youths
awaiting transfer to facilities operated by the New York
State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). After
intake at Bridges, youth who remain in DJJ's custody for
longer than one to two weeks are transferred to Horizon
Juvenile Center or Crossroads Juvenile Center.
MANAGEMENT IN SECURE DETENTION
Case Management System enables the Agency to monitor and
coordinate services for each resident throughout his or
her stay in detention. Through case management, DJJ's staff
provides individualized attention to youth. Case Managers
counsel youth, maintain contact with their families and
their lawyer, monitor the court process and are responsible
for ensuring that each youth's medical, mental health, educational and
social service needs are addressed.
Workers are present and available in all dormitories to
help youth adjust to Secure Detention, and deal with individual
problems. A multi-disciplinary team of staff provide a range
of services within the facility. Case Managers ensure that
these services are tailored to meet each youth's needs.
MENTAL HEALTH AND DENTAL SERVICES
health and mental health services are provided to juveniles in Secure anh Non-Secure Detention through DJJ's Secure
Detention facilities. All youth receive an initial health screening
upon admission. A comprehensive health assessment, including
a complete health history, physical examination, laboratory
tests and mental health assessment, is conducted within
72 hours after a youth arrives in detention. Each resident
also receives a dental exam. DJJ's Mental Health Unit includes
a psychiatrist and mental health professionals, who are available to conduct
mental health evaluations, and to provide counseling and
other mental health services as needed.
NYC Board of Education (BOE) operates Passages Academy,
a full time educational program that tailors its curriculum
to the needs of youth in detention. A fully-staffed school
is located within each of DJJ's three Secure Detention facilities.
are grouped according to academic levels. Program instruction
includes class work in an all major subjects, such as math,
science and history. Passages also provides instruction
in computers, art, music, physical and health education.
The Academy emphasizes project work and hands-on activities
for the students. Monthly projects include science fairs,
poetry readings and essay contests. A comprehensive special
education program, including a resource room, speech and
language services and psychological counseling, is provided
to students with special needs. Teachers, guidance counselors
and other school staff form a team, and also help residents
transition back to the regular school system, upon release
full-time chaplains provide voluntary spiritual counseling
and religious direction to youth in detention. Residents
can attend services on weekdays, weekends and holidays.
DJJs Chapel Program brings clergy of different religions
and denominations to the institution on a rotating basis.
recreation staff ensures that residents participate in a
wide range of daily recreational activities. Outdoor yards,
a gym, game, movie and billiard rooms are available. Music,
art and general recreation rooms allow residents to spend
time quietly and creatively. Special activities such as
teen workshops, motivational speakers and sports tournaments
are planned on a regular basis. Theme-months activities,
such as Black History, Hispanic Heritage, Career, Health
and Women's History, occur on an ongoing basis.
youth who enter Secure Detention leave very quickly; 35
percent are released within five days and 67percent within
30 days. All youth who arrive spend their first week or
so in Intake and Orientation living units, while medical,
educational and social service assessments are made. Residents
participate in a formal orientation program, where they
receive information about services in Secure Detention,
and, when appropriate, information about State Office of
Children and Family Services (OCFS) facilities.
who remain in DJJ custody for a longer period of time are
transferred to one of DJJ's two secure facilities, Horizon
or Crossroads Juvenile Centers. Case conferences, involving
medical, educational, direct child care and social services
staff, are held for each resident every 45 days. 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.
Behavior Management Program (BMP) is designed to teach residents
to take responsibility for their own behavior while in detention.
This incentive system promotes good behavior with rewards
such as extra phone calls, later bedtimes and access to
DJJs commissary and resident lounge. The program discourages
negative behavior with penalties that restrict privileges
and choices of recreational and leisure time activities.