Dangerous and inadequate conditions in juvenile detention facilities open public officials to liability in civil rights lawsuits and harm the very youth whose care is entrusted to them. The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) developed a detailed set of standards that facilities can use to clean up detrimental treatment in detention. This practice guide provides extensive instructions and checklists on conducting a secure detention facility self-inspection.
These JDAI standards are among the most comprehensive and demanding set of published standards for juvenile detention facilities developed in the last 30 years.
Reducing overcrowding in detention can immediately improve conditions.
Statements & Quotations
Although the facility assessment process is being generated by the people who work in the juvenile justice system, it is essential that the assessment is conducted by a team of people who can see the facility with “fresh eyes.” While the assessment team may include “insiders” who work at the facility as well as “outsiders” who are completely independent of the facility, the goal should be to have people who can examine the operation of the facility without bias or preconceptions.
To monitor conditions of confinement in secure detention centers and to identify problems that need correction, JDAI sites establish “self-inspection” teams of volunteers from juvenile justice agencies, other human service systems, and community organizations. These self-inspection teams are trained in a rigorous methodology that carefully examines all aspects of facility policies, practices and programs.