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Juvenile Hall: What to expect

If your child is in Juvenile Hall, find out what their experience will be like.

Juvenile Hall offers safety, supervision, and support

Juvenile Hall is not jail. Instead, it’s a place where children ages 12 to 18 may stay for a short time after getting into trouble. When youths are in Juvenile Hall, we will:

  • Protect and provide for them
  • Help them take responsibility
  • Help them find the support they need
  • Set them up for success

While your child stays in Juvenile Hall, they will get healthy meals and access to support programs and activities. Learn more about what to expect.

Arriving at Juvenile Hall

Once the police bring a youth to Juvenile Hall, staff from the Juvenile Probation Division will take responsibility for them. A counselor will call you (the parents or guardians) to let you know what happened and where your child is.

Meeting with Juvenile Probation

Right after they arrive, a counselor will meet with your child. This is called the “initial screening.” You (parents and guardians) may come to this meeting or join by phone.

This meeting will help us understand what happened and what kind of help your child needs. You and your child can also ask us questions.

Based on what we learn, we’ll create a detention risk assessment. It’s our recommendation for what happens next.

Your child will be released or stay longer in Juvenile Hall

Most youths can go home soon after they arrive. However, some will need to stay longer. If your child needs to stay longer than 48 hours, they will go to court.

Youths may need to stay longer in Juvenile Hall if:

  • The alleged crime was serious
  • There’s not another safe place for them to go
  • They aren’t taking responsibility for what they did
  • They’re at risk of hurting themselves or someone else

If you need more information about why your child was sent to Juvenile Hall, call the Juvenile Division of the Probation Department at 415-473-6659 during normal business hours

Staying in Juvenile Hall

If your child is staying overnight in Juvenile Hall, we’ll explain the rules and show your child around. If they have questions about the rules, they can ask a staff member.

We make Juvenile Hall comfortable for youths who are staying there. Your child will have their own room.


The Marin County Office of Education runs a school in Juvenile Hall. If your child is age 18 or younger, they’ll go to school every day.

If they’re in Juvenile Hall for a while, we will contact their regular school. We’ll make sure that they’re studying the same things, so when they go back to regular school they won’t be behind.

Activities and support

In Juvenile Hall, we have organized sports and other activities. We also help your child get the support and resources they need. All of our staff is specially trained to work with youths. We have:

  • Group counselors
  • Mental health counselors
  • Nurses from the Public Health Department
  • Consulting psychiatrists, who can prescribe medications for mental health issues


We make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks on site. Depending on their situation, your child may eat with other youths or on their own. Youths can’t bring in their own food or get it from their family.

Visits and phone calls

Only parents and guardians are allowed to visit youths staying in Juvenile Hall.

Learn about visiting your child in Juvenile Hall.

Your child is allowed to make calls, but you need to set up an account and pay for them through a company called NCS. You can visit their website online to get started:

Leaving Juvenile Hall

We will let you know when it's time for your child to go home. They will get released (discharged) and you will pick them up. 

When you pick them up, make sure you know:

  • When and where their next court date is
  • The rules they need to follow
  • How to get in touch with their probation officer


About how your child is doing in Juvenile Hall?

Call Juvenile Hall at 415-473-6705

About your child's case or how long they will stay in Juvenile Hall?

Call the Juvenile Division of the Probation Department 415-473-6659


Page updated March 25, 2024