Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) of the State of Utah has contracted with the University of Utah College of Nursing (CON) to provide medical care for the youth in ten Wasatch front area facilities. Our goals are to provide optimal care for the physical and mental well-being of incarcerated youth while educating future health care providers. We work in a holistic manner to address current and potential health problems for the youth under our care. The CON/JJS nursing staff and faculty also serve as clinical mentors for registered nurse, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant students and medical school residents.
Youth at all JJS facilities attend high school and earn school credits, which then may be transferred to their school upon release. Beyond that feature, the missions of each facility are varied. The age range for JJS youth averages 12-18 years.
Salt Lake Valley Detention Center, Weber Valley Detention Center and Farmington Bay Detention Centers are facilities where the youth are detained pending juvenile court disposition or transfer to another jurisdiction or agency. While a detained youth is in the facility, the youth participate in individual and group activities throughout the day. Length of stay can vary from hours to days or, in rare cases, months.
Farmington Bay, Decker Lake Youth Center, Mill Creek Youth Center and Wasatch Youth Center are the long-term state juvenile secure facilities similar to adult prisons. Youth at these facilities receive both education and vocational services. Each juvenile must complete an individually designed treatment plan, based on their rehabilitative needs, and complete the court ordered victim restitution, as part of the requirements for release. The average length of stay is one year and the average age of the residents is 17.
The main purpose of the Genesis Youth Center is to hold youths accountable for their delinquent behavior. Youths are given opportunities to work off court ordered restitution owed to their victims and service hours owed to the community. This program, Gemstone, was developed in response to the need for short-term community programs for females.
Archway Youth Center in Ogden is a receiving center where youth are taken after arrest for status offenses or delinquent acts that do not meet the Detention Admission Guidelines. Receiving center staff work to find parents/guardians, evaluate the youth’s immediate needs for care, and refer them for services.
Medical staff provide a nursing assessment interview, physical examinations, STI testing and care for acute and chronic medical conditions. The medical staff oversees prescription medication administration and coordinates care with other medical and mental health providers. Proactive activities such as health education and immunizations vary according to the facility. Youth in the secure care facilities receive psychiatric nurse practitioner oversight also provided by the College of Nursing.