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NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 73 Issue: 2 Dated: (June 1993) Pages: 237-245
D G Parent
Date Published
9 pages
In 1988, Congress required the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Office to study conditions of juvenile confinement; the study covered 984 public and private detention centers, reception centers, training schools, and other juvenile facilities in the United States.
To evaluate conditions in juvenile facilities, 46 assessment criteria were defined based on the most important needs of confined juveniles. Needs were grouped according to basic needs (living space, health care, food, clothing, and hygiene), order and safety, programming (education, recreation, and treatment), and rights (access to the community and limits on staff discretion). In addition to a mail survey of the 984 facilities in August 1991, 2-day site visits to 95 facilities were conducted between September 1991 and January 1992. Juvenile confinement conditions appeared to be adequate with respect to food, clothing, hygiene, recreation, and living accommodations. Most juveniles were confined in facilities that had passed recent fire, safety, and sanitation inspections. Nonetheless, fire exits in many facilities were not marked and fire escape routes were not posted in living units. Access to the community appeared to be adequate for most confined juveniles. Some juveniles, however, were in facilities where they could not receive telephone calls, and 30 to 35 percent of confined juveniles did not have access to legal services. Crowding was a pervasive problem in juvenile facilities, suicidal behavior was a serious problem, and health screenings and appraisals were not completed in a timely manner. Recommendations to improve juvenile confinement conditions are offered, and areas of further research are identified. 1 table