Juveniles study their lessons in the Intake Housing Unit
Orange County Juvenile Hall is a 380-bed institution for juvenile law violators. It houses male and female minors, generally between the ages of 12 and 18, who are detained pending Juvenile Court hearings or waiting to transfer to another facility.
In 2000, a total of 4,368 juvenile offenders were booked into Juvenile Hall for various crimes of which 2,711 of them were sentenced by the court to Probation's juvenile institutions. Two-thirds of those commitments were for 60 days or more. Every minor detained receives an academic assessment and is enrolled in school. School occurs Monday through Friday year around.
Intake Housing Units
After the juvenile is booked into Juvenile Hall, he or she is assigned to an Intake Housing Unit. This is the first unit the juvenile will be assigned to and they will remain in this unit for about three days until their first court hearing, called a Detention Hearing.
There are two Intake Housing Units - one is for boys 15 years and older; the other is for younger boys and all girls, with the girls housed in separate sleeping rooms.
These units house 30 juveniles each and have one- and two-person sleeping rooms. Most rooms are two-person rooms and come equipped with a toilet.
One-person rooms are reserved for juveniles displaying aggressive and uncooperative behavior, or for their own protection.
Intake Housing Units are self-contained with meals and educational classes provided within the unit. The juveniles do not leave these units except in special circumstances, such as for medical checks or to visit family members, attorneys or other authorized visitors or to attend court.
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 minors 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 assessed 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 assign juveniles to general housing units based on age, gender and security risk.
General Housing Unit
Juveniles 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
Boys and girls are placed into separate housing units.
Each unit houses approximately 20 juveniles.
Each juvenile is assigned to his or her own room.
A room has a bed and a small desk (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 with very limited privacy.
All activities and movements are supervised by Probation staff including use of restrooms and showers and during sleeping periods.
Each housing unit has similar activities:
The juveniles are awakened each morning at 6:00 am and go to bed at 9:00 pm.
All three meals are served within the unit.
There is an accredited school on-grounds that conducts classes approximately 5 hours per day, 5 days per week and 12 months per year.
The juveniles are given two periods for quiet time in their room each day to work on homework, write letters or read.
A 30-minute educational program called BEEP is shown on the television each day. This series of programs deals with teenage values, morals, self-respect and developing social skills.
The juveniles are given a minimum of one hour per day for outdoor sports and exercise. The juveniles are required to participate unless medically excused.
The juveniles who have behaved throughout the day are given two hours in the evening for activities, phone calls and board games.
Juveniles get two periods of quiet time each day
All housing units maintain strict rules:
No loud talking at meal time, showers, in the restroom and no talking while moving about the unit.
When talking is permitted, never raise one's voice.
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 juveniles.
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 bed-time. If serious enough, new criminal charges could be filed.
Juvenile enters his room
Special Housing Units
- are established for minors with special needs or due to the violent nature of the crime. There are a few similarities within the Special Housing Units, such as these juveniles also have their classes in the housing unit. An accredited teacher is assigned to the unit for 5 hours each day. These juveniles typically do not mingle with the general population. There are four special housing units:
Discipline Room Confinement Unit - juveniles who display disruptive behavior and have difficulty following the rules may be placed in this unit for up to 5 days. This unit can house up to 36 boys, each assigned to his own room. Except for school, meals, and one hour of exercise, these boys spend the remainder of their day locked in their rooms. Boys who demonstrate good behavior may earn one hour of free-time in the evening.
Mental Health or Suicide Risk Unit - these minors receive a lot of expert attention. Many see a psychiatrist or psychologist daily. This unit houses up to 16 boys or girls with each assigned to his or her own room. Each minor is individually assessed with a program established to best meet his or her needs.
Sex Crimes Units - these juveniles are accused of committing a sex offense. They are placed in these units to provide them with a special program to help them deal with their psychological issues. These units house up to 20 boys each and they are isolated from the general population.
High Security Unit - this unit houses those juveniles that are considered the most dangerous, highest risk or highest level of criminal sophistication. This unit houses up to 60 boys and girls with one- and two-person rooms. These juveniles are also isolated from the general population.