Juvenile Facilities Checklist For Defenders: Advocating for the Safety and Well-Being of Young People

Youth facing time in both secure and non-secure facilities need vigilant advocates who can monitor the conditions of these facilities, and can either prevent the young person’s placement, limit the young person’s length of time in placement, and/or intervene on the young person’s behalf while they are at the placement. Juvenile defenders are ethically bound to provide “competent, prompt, and diligent representation based in legal knowledge, skill, thorough preparation, and ongoing training.” This ethical obligation includes understanding the facilities housing young people to assess their safety and risk for exposure to harmful conditions and abuse, as well as to determine whether the programming offered would support the developmental success of each individual child. Facility examination should take place at regular intervals through site visits; discussions with clients, families, and other stakeholders familiar with the facilities; and through regular requests for data and/or information from the facilities. Such data can be gathered from publicly available websites, informal requests to facilities, and/or through formal public records—sometimes called Freedom of Information Act—requests which are specific to state law.

This tool is designed to assist juvenile defenders in assessing the safety of the juvenile facilities where their clients could be housed and their clients’ risk of exposure to harmful conditions and abuse.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Gault Center Publications, Practice Tool, Resource Library
Tags: Conditions of Confinement, Post-Disposition, School and Special Education, Youth Defense Systems