Conditions of Confinement

Since its inception, JDAI has emphasized the importance of maintaining safe and humane conditions of confinement in juvenile detention facilities. The JDAI juvenile detention facility standards, originally published in 2004 and revised in 2014, represent the most comprehensive and demanding set of publicly available standards for juvenile detention facilities. Officials in JDAI sites have used these standards and JDAI facility assessment process to improve policies and practices and ensure that their facilities reflect evolving standards of practice in the field.

 Tools & Resources


​ Standards

JDAI Facility Assessment Process

JDAI has developed a facility assessment process where a team of trained individuals from the community assesses its local detention facility for compliance with the JDAI standards. The team issues findings and recommendations that form the basis for improvements to policies, procedures, and practices. ​​

Special Topics in Conditions of Confinement​

Room/Solitary Confinement (Isolation)

The revised JDAI detention facility standards prohibit the use of room confinement for reasons other than as a temporary response to behavior that threatens immediate harm to a youth or others. The standards reflect the advice of dozens of practitioners and nationally recognized experts that room confinement should not be used for discipline, punishment, administrative convenience, or other reasons. The resources below can help facilities work toward the goal of eliminating the unnecessary use of room confinement.

Limited English Proficient Youth

Good communication and cultural understanding are prerequisites to a fair, efficient, and effective justice system. The revised JDAI detention facility standards contain greater detail on the needs of limited English proficient (LEP) youth and family members. The resources below can help facility officials meet their obligations to LEP individuals.

Webinar: Limited English Proficient Youth and Youth with Disabilities​​

​​Youth With Disabilities

Officials have legal and professional obligations to meet the needs of youth with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. The resources below can help individuals understand their responsibilities and develop appropriate services and supports for these youth.​

Webinar: Limited English Proficient Youth and Youth with Disabilities​​​​

Statewide Detention Facility Standards

A number of states have used the JDAI detention facility standards and assessment process as the basis for developing or revising statewide standards on conditions of confinement.

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Implementation

In June 2012, the U.S Department of Justice issued national standards for juvenile facilities and other custodial settings that are aimed at preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual misconduct. The standards, issued pursuant to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003, cover a wide range of facility operations. The 2014 update of the JDAI detention facility standards can help officials assess compliance with PREA as part of the JDAI facility assessment process, although the standards do not incorporate every detail of the PREA regulations and are not a substitute for a full PREA audit. The resources below can also assist agencies with their PREA implementation efforts.



 Detention Facility Self-Assessment Video Series

JDAI Helpdesk at the Pretrial Justice Institute
305 Main Street, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Tel: 240-477-7152 | E-mail: