Rights in a Juvenile Justice Residential Program

Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Residential Services provides a continuum of care for youth with disabilities committed to the care and custody of the Department, beginning with commitment management services through placement within residential commitment programs.

The commitment management system is designed to place youth in the most appropriate program to meet the youth’s special needs and to promote public safety.

DJJ’s Health Service Manual defines a developmental disability (DD) as a disorder or syndrome that is attributable to retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida or Prader Willi syndrome and constitutes a substantial handicap that can be expected to continue indefinitely.

Basic Principles

Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Residential Services must adhere to the following basic principles:

  • All detention center and residential commitment programs need to provide effective healthcare and services to youth with Developmental Disabilities (DD) and therefore must:
    • provide training for staff on the special need populations;
    • conduct effective ongoing assessments of mental health and medical treatment; and
    • provide individual treatment plans that meet the mental and medical health care needs of each youth with a developmental disability.
  • Youth with developmental disabilities shall receive equivalent preventative, gender and age related health care services while residing in the residential program.
  • Individual treatment plans for developmentally disabled youth may focus on assisting the youth to cope with the correctional environment as well as educating staff to the special needs including:
    • Diet
    • Exercise
    • Special Medication Administration requirements
    • Laboratory and other diagnostic monitoring
    • Frequency of follow up visits
    • Youth education
  • Be aware that youth with developmental disabilities may encounter difficulty communicating with or understanding staff. The youth may easily become a victim in the correctional environment and may need special housing arrangements.