If you are convicted of a crime while you are a minor, you may be sent to a juvenile detention center as part of your punishment. However, it is important to understand that juvenile detention centers are not the same thing as federal prisons. It is against the law to house minors in the same facility as adults, so if you are sent to a detention center, you will be among other minors. This page will help you understand the difference between a juvenile detention center and a prison, and it will also answer questions about life in a detention facility.
Types of Detention Centers
There are five different types of detention centers, which include correctional facilities, camp facilities, detention facilities, community based, and residential treatment. Juvenile hall, or a juvenile detention center, is a residential facility used for juvenile delinquents. The reason that detention centers vary so much is because there is no set definition of what a treatment program is supposed to be. This inevitably creates discrepancies in the system.
Juvenile detention centers can be used to detain minors either before or after their court dates. If it is necessary to detain a minor before a hearing, this is where they will stay. Oftentimes, the result of a juvenile court case is a sentence in a detention facility, so these minors will return to a juvenile detention center.
If you are considered to pose a significant threat to society due to the crimes that you have committed, you may be sent to juvenile hall. This supervised center is meant to rehabilitate you and give you the extra help you will require in order to get back on track.
There are two types of juvenile hall – secure confinement and secure detention. Secure confinement generally lasts longer than secure confinement because it implies that you are at a detention facility to complete a specific program, which can take months or years. Secure confinement usually occurs after the trial has taken place and a punishment has been decided. Secure detention usually lasts for shorter periods of time, for example while a minor awaits trial.
If you are sentenced to secure confinement, you will be treated differently than if you were in a prison. You will usually be provided with education, health, recreation, and counseling services, among others. The majority of minors in juvenile hall are ones that violated a court order, which means that they are not usually hardened criminals.
Remember that the purpose of a juvenile detention center is to rehabilitate minors and quickly allow them to resume their normal lives. Life in a juvenile detention facility will therefore center around getting you the help that you need so that you can be released quickly.
Connecticut Juvenile Detention Locations
Children and youths in Connecticut do not get pretrial release. While the purpose of the court is to serve the best interest of the child, and many time that includes keeping the child at home, the state may seek to detain your child in child detention. If so, they will stay in one of three possible locations:
- Juvenile Detention Center at Bridgeport
60 Housatonic Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, 06604
- Juvenile Detention Center at Hartford
920 Broad Street, Hartford, CT, 06106
- Juvenile Detention Center at New Haven
239 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511
The First 48 Hours
If you have been arrested and are being held in the juvenile detention center, a detention hearing is required to occur in the juvenile court within 48 hours after you have been taken into custody. These 48 hours do not include Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. If the 48 hours go by and you have not had your hearing, your rights have been violated. If this occurs, you should contact a juvenile defense lawyer immediately.
The Process of the Hearing
At the hearing, a number of things can happen. One thing is that the judge can dismiss your charges and release you if he or she has no reason to believe that you have committed a delinquent act. This means that all of your charges will be dropped and you will not have to do anything. You will be allowed to go home and carry on with your normal life with no penalties.
Another thing that can happen is the judge can release you to your parents upon a written promise that you will reappear in the juvenile court. This means that you can go home for the time in between your next court date but you must go to the next court date. If you don’t attend the next hearing, there will be further consequences. If your charges are related to a driving incident, the judge can make you give up your license as a condition to be released. The judge can also keep you in detention if he or she believes that you are not going to attend your next court date, or that you are a danger to yourself or others around you.
During your detention, you may not be released on bail. In an adult situation, the person arrested can get bail which means they pay a fee to go home from detention in between their hearing and their next court date. A juvenile is not allowed to do this. Since your hearing is required to occur within 48 hours of your detainment, bail is not really necessary.
Just like all sentences imposed on minors for juvenile offenses, the purpose of a detention facility is to help rehabilitate youths, not to punish them for the mistakes that they have made. As a result, detention centers offer many services that can help juvenile delinquents to get their lives back on track. While one detention center will differ from another, this philosophy is the same throughout.
Records of Juvenile Proceedings
Generally, all records of cases of juvenile matters are confidential. Certain exceptions apply. For example, the record of the case of a juvenile matter involving delinquency proceedings or any part thereof, shall be available to the victim of the crime committed by such child to the same extent as the record of the case of a defendant in a criminal proceeding in the regular criminal docket would be available. (See C.G.S. 46b-124).
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 46b-122 (1997): Judge shall exclude from a juvenile hearing people not necessary to the proceeding.
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 46b-124 (1998): All juvenile court records are confidential. However, records can be inspected pursuant to a court order by any person who has a legitimate interest in the information.