Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center

Kids and Juvenile Detention Centers

Kids and Juvenile Detention CentersJuveniles who are arrested for criminal offenses may be released to their parents while the case is pending in juvenile delinquency court or they may be held in a juvenile detention facility until disposition of the juvenile court case. Unlike adult offenders, juveniles are not able to post bail to secure their release and may only be released by a probation officer or judge. For misdemeanors and less-serious felonies, the minor will often be allowed to remain at home while the juvenile case is pending. However, in serious matters or where the juvenile is already on juvenile probation or has a lengthy juvenile record, the minor may be held in a juvenile detention center.

Arrest Process and Juvenile Detention Centers

When a minor is arrested for a criminal offense, he or she will not be taken to an adult jail with adult offenders. In many cases, the arresting officer will release the minor to the custody of his or her parents and provide a citation with a future court date for the minor’s arraignment in juvenile delinquency court.

In more serious cases, the minor will be taken to one of the juvenile detention centers operated by Los Angeles County Probation Department, including Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile hall in Sylmar, the Eastlake Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles and Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey.

Intake and Detention Control Screening

The minor will be screened by an Intake and Detention Control (“IDC”) officer, who will determine whether the minor will be detained, released on house arrest or released on citation. The minor will be interviewed by the IDC officer, who will also reach out to the minor’s parents. The IDC officer will not release a minor where they do not have a parent, guardian or responsible adult who can take control of them, where the minor does not have a place to live, where the minor has no means of support, where the minor’s home is not fit to live in or if the minor suffers from abuse or neglect, where the minor has to remain in custody to be protected, where the minor will run away, where the minor violated probation or a court order or where the minor is deemed to be dangerous to the public. If the IDC officer determines that the minor should remain at juvenile hall, the minor would appear before a juvenile court judge for arraignment within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays).

Even if the IDC officer decides that a minor must remain in custody pending disposition of the juvenile petition, the juvenile court judge may release the minor at his or her arraignment following a detention hearing. The judge may release the minor to the custody of his or her parents under strict terms of release, such as curfews, school attendance, and drug testing.

Juvenile Detention Pending the Jurisdiction Hearing

If the judge orders the minor to remain in custody pending disposition of the juvenile court petition, the minor would be entitled to a jurisdiction hearing within 15 days. The jurisdiction hearing is heard 30 days after the detention hearing if the minor is released from custody. The jurisdiction hearing is equivalent to a criminal trial where the District Attorney would be required to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt through the presentation of evidence and witnesses. Unlike criminal court, there is no jury trial and the jurisdiction hearing is held in front of a juvenile court judge.

The minor would be transported to court from the juvenile detention center for every court date. While in the detention center, the minor may have visits with his or her parents or legal guardians. Any other relatives wanting to visit would have to first get approval from the Supervising Probation officer at the juvenile detention facility.

If the juvenile petition is sustained, the juvenile court judge will deem the minor a ward of the Court and can release the minor to his or her parents, refer the minor to foster care, send the minor to a camp facility or send the minor to the California Youth Authority (“CYA”) in the most serious cases.