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site visit paper - The Juvenile Detention Center in Fairfax...

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The Juvenile Detention Center in Fairfax, Virginia opened in 1982 as a place to hold juveniles who had been arrested, or who were being detained, awaiting further legal action from the state. The facility, which houses up to 121 juveniles, was designed “to be a leader among the nation’s Juvenile Detention Centers in the provision of efficient, effective and equitable services/programs for detained youth.” The organization, structure, and the design of the facility allows it to give as much individualized care to each juvenile as possible, something that isn’t always possible in a punitive facility. The Center’s mission statement, “to maintain a safe, secure and structured environment that offers therapeutic programming and services which promotes positive change, the overall well-being of the youth and provides for the protection of the community,” reinforces the idea that while a detention center may not be the best, or most effective program for a juvenile delinquent, the state is doing whatever possible to help held juveniles who do end up in these facilities. The Juvenile Detention Center is a locked facility, a facility for children anywhere from 9-18, who have broken the law, and therefore, it is organized in such a way to keep everyone, staff and juveniles alike, as safe as possible. To do this, the state strictly limits the freedoms of the juveniles, who are under constant supervision twenty-four hours a day. From seven in the morning until eleven at night, there are two care workers in each of the eleven units, who exclusively work with the children in a unit. After the departure of these workers, the juveniles are returned to their locked rooms, where they remain until the next morning. During this time period, overnight staff visits each room routinely, and a security desk, which lies at the entrance to the facility, monitors the entire building around the clock.
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The organization of staff at the Juvenile Detention Center also contributes to the effectiveness of the center as a whole. The shift administrators, who also serve as intake officers, contact the parent’s of the juveniles who arrive at the center, gather information about the juvenile’s health and history of mental illness, gang involvement and criminal activity. The other of the twenty-five staff who are on duty at all times include the
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