When Will I Get out of the Detention Center?
If the child is detained, the child will be taken before a judge within 24 hours
for a detention hearing.
The purpose of the detention hearing is for the judge to:
- Explain the nature of charges against the child;
- Determine whether the police had probable cause to take the child into
- Determine whether the child’s family can pay for an attorney, and if they
cannot, appoint the Public Defender;
- Set a date for the adjudicatory hearing (trial); and,
- Determine whether the continued detention of the child is necessary.
If the judge determines that the child should remain detained, the judge has the
three levels of detention security and supervision available: home detention,
non-secure detention and secure detention. Pre-trial detention cannot exceed 21
days without a hearing.
A judge can order that a child be held in secure detention (a lock-up facility
that is the juvenile justice system’s equivalent of adult jail) if the child is
assessed to be a risk to public safety. The child can be confined for up to 21
days while awaiting judicial disposition of the charges. The judge also has the
option to order non-secure detention or home detention, which can involve the
use of electronic monitoring.
Home detention is similar to “house arrest” in the adult system. A youth can be
placed in his home, the home of a responsible friend or relative, a dependency
shelter or foster home setting. The DJJ will make periodic face-to-face and
telephone contact with the youth and the youth’s family and school personnel.
The child cannot leave the home except to attend school without special
permission. The judge may require that the youth wear an electronic monitoring
Non-secure detention is an alternative with a home-like setting. The judge may
require the youth to wear an electronic monitoring device. The provider of the
non-secure detention is responsible for ensuring that the youth receives
adequate supervision and attends school, court and scheduled appointments. the
provider also must supply proper food, shelter, medicine and recreational
Secure detention is a jail-like facility operated by the DJJ. The judge may
order secure detention for a youth depending on the charges, previous history,
home and school assessments and public safety concerns.
The prosecutor may seek to have a child transferred to adult court. In that
case, the prosecutor typically announces the State’s intent to “direct file” the
child into adult court at the detention hearing. The case is reset for the State
to report on its direct file decision. If the child is detained, the reset date
remains 21 days from the date the child was taken into custody.