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NCJ Number: 201759 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Detention: The Philadelphia Alternative
Journal: Pennsylvania Progress  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:July 2003  Pages:1-12
Author(s): Patrick Griffin
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Pennsylvania Cmssn on Crime and Delinquency
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1167
Grant Number: 01/02-J-05/04-12753
Type: Case Study
Format: News/Media
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This issue of Pennsylvania Progress focuses on juvenile detention and its alternatives in Philadelphia.
Abstract: The article begins by recounting the history of the Youth Study Center in Philadelphia, which is Philadelphia’s only secure juvenile detention center. Built in 1953, the detention center is chronically overcrowded and often described as a “scary” place. The Youth Study Center has 1 secure bed for every 3,450 Philadelphia juveniles and the average length of stay in the Youth Study Center has plummeted to just 6.9 days during the first part of 2003. Locked doors and barred windows have largely replaced the type of individualized supervision and nonsecure care originally conceived of for Philadelphia’s juvenile detention program. The article recounts the case of Santiago v. City of Philadelphia, a 1974 Federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 15 juveniles detained in the Youth Study Center. The lawsuit alleged unconstitutional confinement conditions in the facility, most notably severe overcrowding. The lawsuit provided the motivation for city leaders to clean up Philadelphia’s juvenile detention mess. The article outlines the struggle to reform the city’s juvenile detention plan, focusing on the partnership between the Family Court and the Department of Human Services. Philadelphia’s many in-home juvenile supervision alternatives to detention, the broadest such program in the State, are described, including the Pre-Hearing Intensive Supervision program and the Detention Diversion Advocacy Program. Despite many improvements, shortfalls still remain in the juvenile detention program, most notably within the assessment of risks to inform detention decisionmaking. While Philadelphia has made vast improvements and could serve as a model of how justice reform should operate, improvements are still warranted and continue to be assessed as the reform process in Philadelphia continues. 14 Notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile detention reform
Index Term(s): Juvenile justice policies; Juvenile justice standards; Pennsylvania; State juvenile justice systems
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