Secure Detention

The function of Detention is to provide temporary care for youth requiring secure custody pending court hearings and disposition, or pending transfer to another jurisdiction or agency. Detained youth are ones whose offenses are so serious that release would endanger public safety or the welfare of the child. Detention also serves to assure a youth's appearance in court and to remain within the court's jurisdiction.

Detention Programs

The Berrien County Juvenile Center (BCJC) has two detention programs: Secure Detention and Alternative Detention. These programs serve primarily as a temporary holding unit for youth that have been apprehended by law enforcement agencies and petitioned to Juvenile Court for committing criminal offenses.

Secure Detention

The Secure Detention Unit has a co-ed capacity of 16 beds and is physically secure. All bedrooms are single occupancy. This means that all the doors and windows meet high security standards and are locked. The Secure Detention Unit and everyone in it are subject to continuous video monitoring and intensive staff supervision.

Alternative Detention

The Alternative Detention Program is an 8 bed, staff-secured unit located on the Residential Treatment wing of the building. All bedrooms are single occupancy. This unit and everyone in it are subject to continuous video monitoring and intensive staff supervision.


Each detained youth has a preliminary hearing within twenty-four hours, (excluding Sundays and Holidays). At an adjudication hearing, the case is disposed of, or the youth is adjudicated delinquent. If adjudicated delinquent, he/she may be released and placed on probation, placed in a foster home, be committed to the Residential Treatment and Family Services Program of the Berrien County Juvenile Center, be committed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for placement in one of their programs, or placed in a private residential facility.


Court Hearings for youth who are held at the BCJC mostly occur via video-conference connection with the main courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan. Youth will not have direct contact with parents/guardians or relatives during the video-conference court proceedings. Parents/guardians or relatives participate in the court proceedings by attending at the courthouse. Secure Detention youth are typically required to be placed in mechanical restraints (handcuffs and shackles) during the proceedings and while being transported to and from their Court Hearing.