Juvenile Detention Information

If your child has been arrested or received an adjudication of delinquency for criminal defense, they may have been given juvenile detention. You probably have many questions about what this means for your child and what they can expect while in detention. 

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Juvenile Detention

What Is Juvenile Detention

Juvenile detention is the placement of a child in a secured residential facility while awaiting adjudication on charges of delinquency or after receiving an adjudication of delinquency. Also called “juvie” or youth detention, juvenile detention exists for youth offenders who face charges of committing severe criminal offenses that warrant keeping the juvenile secured or away from the public. 

Juvenile Detention Explained

In most cases, a juvenile arrested for committing a crime or adjudicated delinquent for committing a criminal offense will get released to their parent’s or guardian’s custody. At the same time, they await trial or during their placement in a rehabilitation program. Courts place youth offenders in juvenile detention infrequently. A court may send a minor to juvenile detention pre-trial if it believes the minor poses a risk of committing additional crimes or not appearing for trial. Courts may also sentence minors to juvenile detention after adjudication of delinquency for serious criminal offenses that demonstrate the minor’s dangerousness to the public. 

Whereas incarceration in the adult criminal justice system focuses on both punishment for crimes and rehabilitation to prevent future criminal behavior, juvenile detention concentrates primarily on rehabilitation. This focus is in recognition that juveniles frequently engage in criminal behavior due to impulsivity or because they don’t anticipate the consequences of their actions and that severe punishment could do more harm than good.

Nevada operates three juvenile detention facilities: 

  • Summit View Youth Center is a maximum security facility for juveniles aged 12 to 18, with a focus on high-school-aged males. The center operates educational programs, including remedial and special education programs, recreational programming, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, group and individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and sexual offender treatment.
  • Caliente Youth Center is a staff-secure facility with seven housing units – five for males and two for females – serving juveniles aged 12 to 18. 
  • Nevada Youth Center is a staff-secured facility with seven housing units, plus three cottages for juveniles who have graduated to the Reception and Classification program. 

What Happens in a Juvenile Detention Facility?

Each minor sentenced to a term in a juvenile detention facility will receive programming tailored to their criminal behavior and rehabilitative needs. All minors attend school while in juvenile detention to progress toward a high school diploma or GED. Juvenile detention facilities also provide recreational and athletic programming.

Juveniles may have to participate in other rehabilitative programs as ordered by the court, such as behavioral therapy, anger management counsel, or sex offender treatment. Youths in juvenile detention can practice their religion, receive medical care, and speak to/visit with their families or criminal defense attorney.

Differences Between Juvenile Detention Facilities and Correctional Facilities

Although they may seem indistinguishable from a traditional correctional facility, juvenile detention facilities have significant differences tailored to youth offenders’ unique rehabilitative needs. Juvenile detention facilities create an environment that facilitates youths’ rehabilitation, including school, recreational opportunities, and behavioral/mental health counseling. Conversely, adult correctional facilities focus on maintaining institutional security, with inmates’ access to recreational, vocational, or educational programs predicated on their good behavior. 

Alternatives to Juvenile Detention

In Nevada, courts frequently release youths adjudicated delinquent of criminal offenses to their parent’s or guardian’s custody with the requirement to complete various rehabilitative programs in the community instead of attending those programs in juvenile detention. Here are some examples of programs that serve as alternatives to juvenile detention in Nevada:

  • Location monitoring: Juveniles must wear an ankle-mounted GPS tracking device and submit to other location monitoring technologies to ensure their compliance with the terms of a “home detention” program.
  • Drug court: This is a nine-month intensive substance abuse treatment program that includes weekly group counseling and court hearings. 
  • Anger management program: This program is designed for juveniles who have demonstrated difficulty in controlling anger or other violent emotions, using an eight-week group therapy program. 
  • Employment development: This program is for juvenile offenders aged 18 to 21 to help with job seeking, job preparation, and training/retraining.

Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Detention

Here are the answers to some of the frequently asked by parents whose children we represent.

How long do youths stay in juvenile detention?

A youth’s juvenile detention term after adjudicating delinquency will depend on the severity of the offense and the youth’s need for rehabilitation as determined by the court. Youths who commit serious or violent offenses, such as aggravated assault or sex crimes, may need a longer term of juvenile detention to benefit from the youth center’s rehabilitative programming.

Does Nevada have a minimum age for juvenile detention?

Nevada’s juvenile detention centers accept youth as young as 12 and continue to serve juveniles as old as 19.

Is juvenile detention solely for youth who commit violent offenses?

While courts may place some juveniles who have committed violent offenses into juvenile detention, many youths end up in detention for non-violent offenses, including breaking conditions of probation or parole imposed for a prior juvenile crime. 

Can families visit their children while in juvenile detention?

The Nevada juvenile justice system encourages close contact between families and children in detention facilities. However, facilities have visitation rules, and a juvenile may have their visitation privileges suspended for violating them. 

Can children and families get in contact in the event of an emergency?

Nevada Juvenile Justice Services will contact families in the event of an emergency with their children, such as a medical emergency, escape, or incident that requires criminal investigation. Families can also contact their children’s facility or youth parole counsel during a family emergency.

What happens if a detained juvenile’s family moves out of state?

Nevada participates in the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, under which other states in the U.S. can provide similar services to a child adjudicated delinquent of a criminal offense. 

Contact a Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney Today

If your child faces juvenile detention for a delinquency offense, get the legal help your family needs to protect their future. Contact De Castroverde Law Group Criminal & Immigration today for a confidential consultation with a Las Vegas juvenile crimes lawyer