See also: Department of Corrections
The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections was established by Laws 1989, Chapter 266. Statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§41-2801 et seq.
The purpose of the Department of Juvenile Corrections (the Department) is to encompass “the supervision, rehabilitation, treatment, and education of all committed youth” (A.R.S. §41-2802). The Department was created to address needs unique to juvenile offenders, by establishing an education system and developing programs to meet juveniles’ individual treatment needs, including special education services.
The director of the Department is responsible for the overall operations and policies of the Department. The director, appointed by the governor, must have educational qualifications and training, and administrative experience in youth rehabilitation and treatment programs.
The Department is divided into five units. The Executive Staff provides leadership and oversight of daily operations, and conducts research and development. The Inspections and Investigations unit conducts investigations of department staff or juveniles if allegations of criminal action, misconduct, or other noncompliance arise. The Operations unit conducts the daily functions of the correctional facilities. Each facility provides secure housing, transportation, rehabilitation programming, and special treatment for mental health, substance abuse, and sex offenders. The Operations unit also oversees medical services, behavioral health, education, and community corrections. The Quality Assurance unit conducts inspections, audits, and evaluations, and recommends policy changes. The Support Services unit is responsible for purchasing and fiscal management, human resources, facilities administration, and legal counsel.
Laws governing other aspects of Juvenile Courts and Juvenile Offenders are found in A.R.S. Title 8, Chapters 2 and 3.
Since Territorial days, Arizona housed adult and juvenile offenders in both county jails, kept by the sheriffs of the counties where they are located; and territorial (state) institutions. The Territorial Industrial School was established in 1901 and located in Benson, for boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 16 convicted of an offense punishable by imprisonment. The Industrial School moved to a better location in 1912 at Fort Grant, a former military fort with more opportunities for agriculture, education and training. A separate school for girls was opened in 1927. Other juvenile facilities include Catalina Mountain School, originally opened as Arizona Youth Center in 1967; Adobe Mountain School, opened in 1972; and Black Canyon Juvenile Institution opened in 1988.
In 1967, the legislature determined that an in-depth review of juvenile corrections in Arizona was needed to address the growing numbers of youths in the system and the problems facing young people in a changing world. The legislature appointed a joint study committee, which appointed a professional advisory committee, and determined that a full review of all corrections in Arizona was necessary.
The advisory committee recommended establishing a unified department of corrections to oversee both adult and juvenile offenders. The recommendation was made to address statewide problems with duplication and overlap among governmental units at all levels of correctional systems. The joint study committee concurred, and proposed legislation to create the State Department of Corrections.
Laws 1968, Chapter 198 established the Department of Corrections and consolidated at the state level all supervisory staff and administrative functions for matters related to the incarceration and parole of adult and juvenile offenders. All property and personnel under the Superintendent of the State Prison and the Board of Directors of State Institutions for Juveniles were transferred to the new department. This law added Chapter 11, articles 1 and 2 to Title 41 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Laws 1969, Chapter 81 changed the term “juvenile offender” to “youth offender” and addressed their commitment, placement, discharge and release.
In 1986, a civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of a juvenile incarcerated at Catalina Mountain, alleging unconstitutional conditions. In broad terms, the suit accused the Department of Corrections of confining and treating juveniles in the same manner as adult offenders. Johnson v. Upchurch became a class-action suit, and resulted in numerous changes to juvenile corrections in Arizona.
Laws 1989, Chapter 266 created the Department of Juvenile Corrections, established the State Juvenile Educational System and created a five-member Board. This law made technical corrections and conforming changes to the Department of Corrections and other statutes related to the disposition and commitment of juveniles.
Laws 1991, Chapter 210 altered the name of the Department, changing it from “Department of Juvenile Corrections” to the “Department of Youth Treatment and Rehabilitation.” Other terminology was also changed, including “committed youth” instead of “juvenile offender” and “secure care facilities” instead of “institutions.” Additionally, new sections were added related to developing individual treatment plans based on diagnostic assessments.
Laws 1995, Chapter 178 changed the name back to the Department of Juvenile Corrections, and made conforming changes throughout the statutes.
Laws 1998, Chapter 216, created the Religious Services Advisory Committee, to advise the director on providing religious services to committed youth and accommodating the religious faiths held by committed youth. The Committee was appointed by the director. Additionally, the measure prohibited the Department from coercing committed youth to participate in religious activities.
Laws 2007, Chapter 137 created the Department of Juvenile Corrections Career Technical Education Fund and permitted the Department to sell products produced by committed youth to the public. All money from the sales goes to this fund.
Laws 2012, Chapter 354 authorized the director of the Department to assign committed youth to a designated educational program. The director may assign youth on conditional liberty to any specific public or private educational program if it is in the youth’s best interest.
- Revised Statutes of Arizona Territory §1181 et seq.; §3572 et seq. (1901)
- Revised Statutes of Arizona, Penal Code §1431 et seq. (1913)
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§41-2801 et seq. (2015)
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§8-201 through 8-421 (2015)
- Session Laws
- Laws 1968, Chapter 198
- Laws 1969, Chapter 81
- Laws 1989, Chapter 266
- Laws 1991, Chapter 210
- Laws 1995, Chapter 178
- Laws 1998, Chapter 216
- Laws 2007, Chapter 137
- Laws 2012, Chapter 354
- Report to the Arizona Legislature: Proposed Structural Reorganization of Correctional Programs in Arizona, Joint Study Committee on Juvenile Institutions, January 1968: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/statepubs/id/9281/rec/1
- Johnson v. Upchurch, CIV-86-00195 (D. Ariz., consent decree 1993)
- Report to the Arizona Legislature: Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections – Sunset Factors, Office of the Auditor General, Report No. 09-10 (2009)
Related collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 181 – Juvenile Corrections, Department of
- Record Group 31 – Corrections, Department of
- Record Group 30 – Corrections Planning, Commission on