A “juvenile detention center” is a secure holding facility, operated by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, where a child may be placed after being charged with a delinquent act and pending the outcome of their delinquency case. Currently, there are two juvenile detention centers in Connecticut. They are located at:
|Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center|
|60 Housatonic Avenue|
|Bridgeport, Ct 06604|
|Hartford Juvenile Detention Center|
|920 Broad Street|
|Hartford, CT 06106|
Children are not “sentenced” to a term of incarceration in a juvenile detention center. These are simply secure facilities for the temporary holding of a child while their delinquency case is pending before the court.
Only a child charged with committing a delinquent act (not a FWSN offense) may be placed in a juvenile detention center.
To place any child in a juvenile detention center, there must be a court order, signed by a judge, authorizing the placement of a child in a juvenile detention center, regardless of the seriousness of the charge.
There are four situations where a child may be placed in a juvenile detention center by the police.
An arrest warrant is only necessary when the child will be taken into physical custody upon arrest and some time has gone by since the incident, rather than just being issued a Juvenile Summons, and none of the exceptions to the requirement for a warrant (on-sight violation, speedy information, exigent circumstances, etc) apply.
The more common practice in juvenile cases is to serve the child and their parent with a Juvenile Summons. See Releasing a child upon arrest for a delinquent act.
In some court locations, if more than thirty days has passed since the incident, it is preferred that an arrest warrant be obtained rather than just issuing a Juvenile Summons. Check with the local juvenile court prosecutor’s office.
On the last page of the warrant, the judge will check off one of three boxes indicating what the police are to do with the child after the warrant has been executed and the child processed in accordance with the officer’s department policy.
If box “A” is checked, the child should be released to the child’s parent or guardian or to some other suitable adult or agency, or released on their own recognizance, and issued a Juvenile Summons to appear in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters that serves the child’s town of residence.
If the child cannot be released on their own recognizance or if a parent, guardian, or other suitable person or agency willing and able to take custody of the child in a reasonable period of time, then child may not be placed in a juvenile detention center. The DCF Careline should be contacted at 860-550-6550 for assistance in placing the child in a shelter or in the temporary custody of DCF.
If box “B” is checked, the child may be released upon posting the amount of bail set by the judge. Remember: the police do not set bail or any conditions of release for children, but the judge may set bail when signing an arrest warrant for a child.
If the child is not able to post the specified bail, the child may be placed in the juvenile detention center designated on the warrant until the bail is posted or until there is a court hearing the next business day.
If box “C” is checked, the child should be placed in the juvenile detention center designated on the warrant until there is a court hearing the next business day.
When asking the judge to sign the warrant for the purpose of placing the child in the detention center (requesting that box C be checked), unless there is a reason not to, the judge should also be asked to check the box that provides that "Said child is ordered not to be released by the Juvenile Detention Superintendent or designee." Although the statute prohibits such release if the child is charged with a Serious Juvenile Offense, there is a risk that the child might be released, unless this box is checked, even if charged with a Serious Juvenile Offense.
This is an order initiated by the court in a pending delinquency case where a child is alleged to have failed to appear in court, violated a condition of a suspended detention order, violated a condition of probation or violated some other court order. The police would not seek a TIC order, rather a signed order would be given to the police instructing them to take the child named in the order into custody and deliver him or her to the juvenile detention center designated in the order.
Prior to executing a TIC, particularly if it was signed some time ago, the officer should contact the court or, if after the regular workday or on weekends or holidays, the juvenile detention center, to confirm that the TIC is still valid and has not been vacated for any reason.
To obtain an Order to Detain, the officer must contact a Superior Court judge (they do not have to be currently assigned to a juvenile court) and arrange to meet with them to present the application for the Order to Detain. The officer seeking the Order should have provided the information requested in the Order and prepared a sworn statement sufficient to establish probable cause to believe the child committed the delinquent act(s) alleged. The officer should also have sufficient information to convince the judge that there is no less restrictive alternative available and that there exists at least one of the following grounds necessary to place the child in a juvenile detention center: Note that as of January 1, 2017, admission to detention is limited to only the following three grounds.
|(A) probable cause to believe that the child will pose a risk to public safety if released to the community prior to the court hearing or disposition,|
|(E) a need to hold the child to assure the child’s appearance before the court, as demonstrated by the child's previous failure to respond to the court process, or|
|(C) a need to hold the child for another jurisdiction.|
If the judge is not able to find one of these grounds, the Order to Detain will not be signed.
The police are advised to frame any requests for an Order to Detain in terms of a threat to public safety to enable a judge to find the grounds necessary to sign the Order to Detain when there are reasons to detain a child.
If the judge finds that there is probable cause and no less restrictive alternative available but is unable to find one of the grounds for detention, the officer should contact the DCF Careline at 1-800-842-2288 or 860-550-6550 (law enforcement only). Workers at the Careline will assist in locating an alternative placement for the child and, if necessary, will send a primary investigator or on-call social worker to your location to further assist with placement or even take temporary custody of the child.
In that situation, an Interstate Compact For Juvenile Take Into Custody Application and Order Delinquent Child (JD-JM-192), should be requested from any Superior Court judge. This Order will authorize the officer to take the child into custody and bring the child to the juvenile court specified in the Order or place the child in the juvenile detention center. Before requesting such an Order, the officer should verify that the child is still wanted by the other state and that they are willing to extradite the child to their state.
Prior to bringing any child to a juvenile detention center, the officer should do the following:
The juvenile detention center should not be used as punishment but should only be used when it is necessary in the child’s best interests or the community’s best interests to confine the child rather than release them following a delinquent act. The three grounds listed above as necessary for an Order to Detain indicate appropriate reasons to place a child in a juvenile detention center. The decision to place a child in a juvenile detention center should never be based on the child’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Upon admission to a juvenile detention center, every child is:
If the child is not released by the Superintendent or the probation officer, the child will be presented in court the next business day following admission. The child must be represented by an attorney at this hearing. If the family has not yet retained an attorney or if they are not able to afford an attorney, one would be appointed for the child.
If the prosecutor is seeking continued detention, the judge will be asked to read the affidavit provided by the police to establish probable cause for the delinquent act(s) alleged in the Petition/Information. If no probable cause is found, the child will be released.
If probable cause is found, the court will hear arguments regarding the six possible grounds for detention. If none of the grounds are found, the child will be released. If one or more of the grounds are found, the court will hear argument on the existence of any less restrictive alternatives that might be available other than continued detention. If the court finds that none exist, the child will be remanded to the detention center.
So long as the child remains in the juvenile detention center, the child will be presented in court every seven days at which time the prosecutor will have to convince the judge that there continues to be a reason to hold the child in detention and that no less restrictive alternative is available.