Juveniles study their lessons in the Intake Housing Unit
Orange County Juvenile Hall is a 434-bed juvenile detention facility that is operated by the Orange County Probation Department. It houses male and female youth, generally between the ages of 12 and 20, who are detained pending Juvenile Court hearings or waiting to transfer to another facility.
Intake Housing Units
After the youth is booked into Juvenile Hall, he or she is assigned to an Intake Housing Unit. This is the first unit the youth will be assigned to and they will remain in this unit for three to seven days while attending their first court hearing, called a Detention Hearing.
There are two Intake Housing Units at Juvenile Hall. The boy’s intake unit houses up to 30 youth and has one- and two-person sleeping rooms. Most rooms are two-person rooms and come equipped with a toilet. The girl’s intake unit houses up to 20 youth.
Juveniles spend a portion of their day in their rooms
General & Special Housing Units
When a Juvenile Court judge determines at a Detention Hearing that youth will remain in custody, they are assigned to a General Housing Unit or a Special Housing Unit based on their needs, the nature of the crime and their security risk level. Most of the units are general housing units in that the setup, activities and rules of the unit are very similar. Probation staff assigns youth to general housing units based on age, gender and security risk. Youth in all units have access to individual and family therapy provided by the Orange County Health Care Agency or the Orange County Department of Education – Safe Schools. Youth are also provide cognitive-behavioral programming proven to reduce recidivism such as EPICS (Effective Practices in Correctional Settings), Thinking for a Change and Decision Points. Numerous other programs are provided such as the Baby Elmo Program which allows incarcerated youth to have structured visitation with their children, Girls Inc. which focuses on the unique needs of female youth, substance abuse, anger management and sequential art therapy. 12-step Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous panels are held in each unit. The Catholic and Protestant detention ministries have offices within Juvenile Hall and provide weekly church services and Bible study for all youth who wish to participate.
General Housing Unit
Youth in these units generally have no special needs and the nature of the crime does not dictate a higher security environment.
Each housing unit is set up as follows:
Juveniles get one hour of exercise each day
Males and Females are placed into separate housing units.
Each unit houses approximately 20 – 30 youth.
Each youth is assigned to his or her own room.
A room has a bed and some rooms have toilets.
A large day room is used for dining and group activities.
A communal bathroom with toilets, shower stalls and sinks is provided.
All activities and movements are supervised by Probation staff.
Each housing unit has similar activities:
The youth are awakened each morning at 6:00 am and go to bed at 9:00 pm.
All three meals are served within the unit.
Otto Fischer School is an accredited school run by the Orange County Department of Education which provides on-ground classes for all youth.
All youth attend school Monday through Friday and receive 240 minutes of classroom education per day.
The youth are given a minimum of one hour per day for outdoor sports and exercise. The youth are required to participate unless medically excused.
The youth are given two hours in the evening for activities, programming and phone calls.
Juveniles get two periods of quiet time each day
All housing units maintain strict rules:
One must always get permission before moving about the unit.
Walk with hands behind back.
Do not look into anyone else's room.
Show respect to staff and other youth.
Be on best behavior at all times.
Keep rooms neat and clean at all times.
Misbehaving is punishable by loss of privileges, room confinement or early bedtime.
Criminal misbehavior while in Juvenile Hall may result in new charges being filed.
Juvenile enters his room
Special Housing Units
- are established for youth with special needs or due to the violent nature of the crime. These youth typically do not mingle with the general population. There are four special housing units:
Mental Health Unit - these youth receive a lot of expert attention. Many see a psychiatrist or psychologist daily. This unit houses up to 20 male youth (female youth can also be housed in this unit if necessary) with each assigned to his or her own room. Each youth is individually assessed with a program established to best meet his or her needs. These youth are provided with their own teacher who holds the class in the Unit so that a more structured learning environment can be maintained.
Sex Offender Unit - these youth are accused of committing a sex offense. They are placed in this unit to provide them with a special therapy program to help them deal with their psychological issues. This unit houses up to 15 males.
Extreme Security Risk (XSR) Unit – There are currently two XSR units at Juvenile Hall. There units house those youth that are considered the most dangerous, highest risk or highest level of criminal sophistication. Many of these youth have been charged as an adult and are going through the adult court process. Since this could be a long court process for many of these youth, evidence based programming has been implemented in this unit such as Thinking for a Change (T4C) as well group and individual therapy. These units house up to 30 males. These Units have their own separate visiting times on Sunday’s.
Adult Inmate Unit – This unit houses youth who are 18 years of age and older. Many of the youth in this unit have committed a crime after they have turned 18 years of age and have spent commitment time at Orange County Jail. Due to Federal laws, these youth are to be “sight and sound” separated from other youth who are 17 years of age and younger. This unit attends visiting separate from the rest of the population. Many of these youth have been charged as an adult and are going through the adult court process. This unit can house up to 20 males.
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