DJJDP operates seven Youth Development Centers (YDCs) and nine Detention Centers which house youth who have committed some type of crime. YDCs provide mentoring, education, and therapeutic treatment to prepare youth to be successful in life. YDCs promote learning and development through a wide range of educational and vocational courses. Detention centers, though placement is temporary, provide the same kinds of opportunities for positive change and development. Youth are normally placed in a state or county operated detention center until another placement can be found, or the youth are awaiting trial, or are awaiting placement in a YDC. Three North Carolina counties operate their own detention centers. These counties include: Durham, Forsyth, and Guilford.
Youth, who are 10 years or older, could be committed to a Youth Development Center for treatment for a minimum of six months; however, the average length of stay in a YDC is about 375 days. Since the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1998, commitment to a YDC is reserved for serious and/or violent offenders in addition to chronic offenders.
Often, the public confuses DJJDP's youth development centers with youth prison facilities operated by the Department of Correction.
The Department's treatment is focused, and rehabilitates at-risk youth so that they can stay connected to and eventually re-enter their communities. The youth in our system are adjudicated in the juvenile justice system, and are given the opportunity to live their adult lives without a criminal record. Many of the youth who have been in our system have gone on to community college, established careers, and have created success in life.