Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center

Juveniles and Confinement

Juveniles and ConfinementJuveniles accused of criminal offenses have their cases handled separately from adult offenders. Not only do juvenile offenders have their cases heard by dedicated juvenile court judges, there are facilities designed specifically to house juvenile offenders, both while a juvenile case is pending and if a minor is deemed a ward of the court and is ordered to complete a period of confinement.

Pre-Disposition Confinement

When a minor is arrested for a criminal offense, the arresting officer may release the minor to the custody of his or her parents and provide a citation to appear in court on a future date. With more serious offenses, the juvenile may be arrested and may be taken to juvenile hall, which is a county-run juvenile detention facility that houses minors who have cases pending in juvenile delinquency court.

Unlike adult offenders, juvenile offenders are not able to post bail to secure their release from custody. In some cases, the probation officer at the juvenile hall facility will release the minor under specific terms and conditions of release pending the minor’s court appearance. In other cases, the minor may be sent directly to juvenile court where a judge would determine whether or not the minor should stay in custody pending disposition of the case or whether it is appropriate to release the minor to his or her parents.

In Los Angeles County, juveniles can be housed at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, California, Eastlake Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles or Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, California. The minor would be transported to court for his or her court dates and would remain in juvenile unless released by the judge or until the disposition of the case.

Post-Disposition Confinement

Following the disposition of a minor’s case in juvenile delinquency court and depending on the outcome of the case, the minor can be released to the custody of his or her parents, placed in the foster care system, placed in a camp probation program or sent to the California Youth Authority for the most serious juvenile offenses.

The Los Angeles County Probation Department Residential Treatment Services Bureau operates 19 juvenile probation camps in Los Angeles County. Once a minor receives a disposition that includes a Camp Community Placement (“CCP”) order, Probation will conduct an intensive and individualized assessment to determine the best camp for the minor. The assessment considers criteria such as age, gender, program length, medical needs, mental health concerns, substance abuse issues and the minor’s interests and strengths. The goals of residential camps are to reunify the minor with his or her family, reintegrate the minor into the community and provide education, medical and mental health services.

In the most serious juvenile cases, the judge will order that the minor is confined to the custody of the California Youth Authority (“CYA”), also known as the Division of Juvenile Justice, for a specified period of time. In California, there are three juvenile correctional facilities and one conservations camp that serve individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 who receive dispositions in juvenile delinquency court. These facilities include the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, California, the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, California, the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton, California and the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Pine Grove, California. In recent years, several juvenile detention facilities have been closed and consolidated.

Minors in CYA facilities receive education and vocational work training so that they can hopefully be reintegrated into society upon release. Medical and mental health services are available to minors confined in one of California’s CYA facilities. Minors can be sent to a CYA facility if he or she was committed by a juvenile court, if he or she was tried as an adult and committed by a criminal court or if he or she was tried as an adult and committed to Adult Programs and Adult Operations but ordered to be housed in a CYA facility.