One of the many unique features of the juvenile justice system is the law related to the permissible uses of detention. Called secure custody in the Juvenile Code, placement of a juvenile in detention is permitted only when specifically authorized by statute. This post reviews the legally allowable circumstances for the use of juvenile detention. If the situation of a particular juvenile does not match any of these circumstances, then the juvenile cannot be ordered to be held in a detention facility. Note that detention applies only to juveniles who are the subject of delinquency or undisciplined proceedings and is never permitted in an abuse, neglect, or dependency action.
Parts I – IV of Session Law 2021-123 make changes to the statutory structure that raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include most offenses committed at ages 16 and 17. The most significant changes relate to new prosecutorial discretion to decline to transfer cases in which the most serious charge is a Class D – Class G felony and the ability to extend the length of jurisdiction when a juvenile is committed to a Youth Development Center (YDC) for a Class A – Class E felony committed at age 16 or 17. The raise the age changes in S.L. 2021-123 are detailed below.