OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Department of Juvenile Justice

What is the purpose of the department?

The Department of Juvenile Justice's mission is to use prevention, intervention, and treatment programs in order to increase public safety, decrease youth delinquency, strengthen families, and improve the lives of troubled youth.

What services does the department provide?

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) provides services statewide that include the following four areas within the juvenile justice process.
  • Prevention and Victim Services provides voluntary delinquent prevention programs by contracting with and offering grants to service providers. The programs are designed to help high-risk youth avoid committing crimes.
  • Detention provides temporary supervision in secure facilities for youth waiting to be seen by a judge or waiting for placement in a residential commitment program.
  • Probation and Community Intervention supervises youth who are participating in sanctions and services while they remain in their communities.
  • Residential Services supervises youth who have been adjudicated (found guilty) by the court and sent to state residential commitment programs.
The department also offers services to youth through Health Services and the Office of Education.

How many youth are served?

  • Prevention and Victim Services served a total of 33,495 youth through state and federally funded prevention programs in Fiscal Year 2018-19.
  • Detention served 13,031 youth under secure detention, 8,491 youth in home detention, and 3,105 youth by electronic monitoring in Fiscal Year 2018-19.
  • Probation and Community Intervention served more than 42,000 youth in Fiscal Year 2018-19.
  • Residential Services served 4,243 youth through commitment programs in Fiscal Year 2018-19.

How does the department monitor and evaluate services?

The department monitors and evaluates programs in several ways.

Can the department help with children who need assistance?

Parents of a child who is in need, repeatedly skips school, or runs away from home can get help from the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services. This organization connects youths and families to community resources and counseling programs that work with troubled youth and their families.  This intervention can help prevent serious outcomes like a child dropping out of school, living on the streets, or being arrested.

What are the legal rights of a juvenile after arrest?

Juveniles arrested and charged with a criminal offense have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Unlike adults, juveniles arrested for an offense do not have the right to bail.  Juveniles also do not have the right to a jury trial in delinquency proceedings; instead they appear before a circuit court judge assigned to hear delinquency cases. As in adult court, the state has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the juvenile committed the offense charged.

What are the obligations of parents of delinquent youth?

Parents and guardians are required by law to pay up to $5 a day for the cost of care (such as room and board expenses) when their delinquent child is in state custody and $1 a day when the child is under state supervision in the community, such as probation. The amount is mandatory, unless a waiver or reduction is requested by the parents and approved by the judge.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
JUVENILE JUSTICE, DEPARTMENT OF
PROGRAM: ACCOUNTABILITY AND PROGRAM SUPPORT
CONTRACTING AND QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
8,741,759
123.50
PROGRAM: JUVENILE DETENTION PROGRAM
DETENTION CENTERS
119,144,713
1,473.00
PROGRAM: OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY/ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
19,824,306
178.00
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
7,592,724
59.50
PROGRAM: PREVENTION AND VICTIM SERVICES
DELINQUENCY PREVENTION AND DIVERSION
86,965,521
20.00
PROGRAM: PROBATION AND COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS PROGRAM
COMMUNITY INTERVENTIONS AND SERVICES
49,490,462
503.00
COMMUNITY SUPERVISION
92,235,727
836.50
PROGRAM: RESIDENTIAL CORRECTIONS PROGRAM
NON-SECURE RESIDENTIAL COMMITMENT
126,170,347
.00
SECURE RESIDENTIAL COMMITMENT
75,596,923
92.00
TOTAL
585,762,482
3,285.50

Updates

Juvenile Justice Changes. The 2018 Legislature enacted Ch. 2019-167, Laws of Florida, which removes mandatory direct file, which is the required transfer of certain youth to adult court. A state attorney may still transfer a youth to adult court under discretionary direct file based on the youth's age, offense, and prior criminal record. The bill also made changes to civil citations. It added a locally authorized entity to the list of entities that can operate a civil citation program as long as the program was already operating as of October 1, 2018, and approved by the state attorney.  Additionally, the bill transfers data entry responsibility from DJJ to the civil citation program. It requires the program to enter data into DJJ's data system within seven days of the youth's admission.

DJJ Visitation. The 2018 Legislature enacted Ch. 2018-47, Laws of Florida, which allows authorized people to visit DJJ facilities. Authorized people include the Governor, a cabinet member, a member of the Legislature, a judge of a state court, a state attorney, a public defender, or a person authorized by the secretary of the department.

Diversion Program Expunction. The 2018 Legislature enacted Ch. 2018-127, Laws of Florida, which requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules for the expunction of nonjudicial records for a juvenile after successfully completing a diversion program for a misdemeanor offense. Additionally, the department cannot charge a processing fee for expunctions of nonjudicial records for juveniles under this category.  Additionally, the law allows for a juvenile who successfully completes a diversion program for a first-time misdemeanor to deny or fail to acknowledge participation in the diversion program and expunction of the nonjudicial arrest record unless asked by a criminal justice agency for the purpose of determining eligibility for a diversion program, a criminal investigation, or making a prosecutorial decision.

Prolific Juvenile Offenders.  The 2017 Legislature enacted Ch. 2017-164, Laws of Florida, which defines certain repeat juvenile offenders as prolific juvenile offenders and increases the use of detention for these offenders. The law defines prolific juvenile offenders using three criteria in s. 985.255(1)(j), Florida Statutes. The first criterion is that the child is charged with a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult. The second is that the child has a previous adjudication or adjudication withheld for a felony offense or delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult. Finally, the child must have five or more of any of the following, with at least three for felony offenses or delinquent acts that would have been felonies if committed by an adult: an arrest event for which a disposition has not been entered; an adjudication; or an adjudication withheld.

The law increases the use of detention for prolific juvenile offenders by requiring that a prolific juvenile offender be placed in nonsecure detention with electronic monitoring or secure detention under a special detention order until disposition, which is the final decision by the court about sanctions, conditions, or services. The 2018 Legislature enacted Ch. 2018-86, Laws of Florida, which requires a prolific juvenile offender who is taken into custody for violation of the nonsecure detention conditions to be placed in secure detention until a hearing occurs.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website.
The Florida Department of Financial Services reports on agency contract management reviews are available on its website.
Monthly Accountability Scorecard, Department of Juvenile Justice.
Quality Improvement Program Reports, Department of Juvenile Justice.
Comprehensive Accountability Reports, Department of Juvenile Justice.
Service Continuum Analysis Report, Department of Juvenile Justice, 2016.
A Sourcebook of Delinquency Interventions, Department of Juvenile Justice, 2015.
Department of Juvenile Justice: Residential Services and Selected Administrative Activities, Auditor General, Report No. 2018-084, January 2018.
Evidence-Based Policies, Programs, and Practices in Juvenile Justice: Three States Achieving High Standards Through State Support Centers, National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2016.
Websites of Interest
National Center for Juvenile Justice
National Council on Crime and Delinquency
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics
U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service
U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Performance Measures
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapters 984 and 985, and s. 20.316, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Headquarters, 850-488-1850

Website