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Detention Services

DJJ operates 21 juvenile detention centers in the state of Florida. Detention centers provide custody, supervision, education and mental health/substance abuse and medical services to juveniles statewide.


Detention is the custody status for youth who are held pursuant to a court order or after being taken into custody for a violation of the law. In Florida, a youth may be detained only when specific statutory criteria, outlined in section 985.215, Florida Statutes, are met. Criteria for detention include current offenses, prior history, legal status, and any aggravating or mitigating factors.

Youth under age 18 taken into custody by law enforcement are screened by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to determine if they should be detained in a secure detention facility. Detention screening is performed by juvenile probation staff using a standardized Detention Risk Assessment Instrument. (DRAI)

The Department operates 21 secure detention centers in 21 counties with a total of 1243 beds. Pre-disposition detention costs are shared by state and county government. Post-disposition costs are primarily funded by state general revenue dollars. All detention centers receive additional federal funding in the form of the National School Lunch and Breakfast funds.

Youth placed in Secure Detention have been assessed as risks to public safety, per the DRAI and must remain in a physically secure detention center while awaiting court proceedings. Youth in custody for minor crimes that are not considered a risk to public safety may be released into the custody of their parents or guardian. During FY 2009-10 there were a total of 25,008 individual youth served in secure detention.

Youth appear before the court within 24 hours of being taken into custody, at which time the juvenile judge determines whether there is a need for continued detention. Generally there is a 21-day limit to secure detention, but those charged with serious offenses can be held up to 30 days.

Educational assessments and full-time educational services are provided to school age youth while in detention. These services are funded by the Department of Education through local school districts. Medical, substance abuse, and mental health services to include screenings, crisis intervention and stabilization are also provided. All youth participate in daily structured recreational activities. Participation in religious services is optional.