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The Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center (PJJSC)

Holding youth at the request of the courts while they wait for their cases to be heard.


DHS operates Philadelphia's only secure juvenile detention center. Youth are held here at the request of the Courts while they wait for their cases to be heard. We provide supervision, high quality programming, and an array of professional services.

The PJJSC offers individual and group counseling, conflict resolution, life skills, and supervised outdoor recreation to help youth to understand and develop empathy for the victims of crimes. The School District of Philadelphia has an on-site school so youth remain engaged with their education.

Our services

We provide residents with a range of services and activities designed to meet their needs, including:

  • Education.
  • Social services.
  • Medical services.
  • Behavioral health services.
  • Recreational programming.

The PJJSC is a clean, well-staffed, and secure detention facility, licensed by PA Department of Human Services. The School District of Philadelphia provides education to all of our residents. Any credits earned at the PJJSC are transferable back to the student’s home school.


We encourage families to visit as often as possible. It is an important way to support to your child during this time. Only parents, grandparents, and legal guardians may visit during regular visiting days without prior authorization.

Regular visiting times are 7 – 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 3:30– 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Each child may receive one visit every two weeks.

Upon admittance families will receive a visiting schedule. We encourage you to arrive about 30 minutes before the start of visits to ensure there's enough time.

At the discretion of our Director of Professional Services, there are times when other adult family members may be allowed to visit. Requests for these visits must be made through your child’s PJJSC social worker.

Keeping in touch

Youth may place a call to their parent/guardians shortly after they arrive at the PJJSC. After that they may call every other day, provided they have followed the Center’s rules and have been respectful to staff and their peers. A youth can lose one of their phone calls for misbehavior.

Youth may send and receive mail. The mail will not be opened by staff, however, it will be inspected to be sure that no inappropriate materials are contained in it. They cannot receive:

  • Cash.
  • Drugs.
  • Cigarettes.
  • Sexually explicit photographs or literature.
  • Weapons, or anything that could be used to harm the child or others.

Send mail to:
The Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center
91 North 48th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19139


91 North 48th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19139
Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Center School

Who are the people involved with my child’s case?

Social Worker
The social worker can answer questions about how your child is adjusting to staying at the PJJSC, whether they have health problems, get along with others, or are experiencing mental health issues. The social worker supports your child and is instrumental in accessing what resources they need.

Probation Officer
The court will appoint a probation officer. Their job is to review your child’s charges and to make recommendations to the judge about what should happen next. The probation officer plays a major part in your child’s case. The best time to call your child’s probation officer is in the morning, before 1 p.m., as many probation officers spend their afternoons in the “field,” visiting with young people who are on probation at home.

Public Defender or Private Attorney
A public defender or a private attorney is also involved with your child’s case. They are also appointed by the court. Their job is to defend your child in court and speak to the judge on your son or daughter’s behalf. It is extremely important that you speak with this person so that they have all of the facts about the case.

Your child’s social worker will facilitate contact with the probation officer, public defender, or private attorney.

What role does the PJJSC staff have in making decisions about my child’s detention?

It is important to understand that staff at the PJJSC do not have a say in how long a youth stays. That decision is made by the Courts. If a youth has a Probation Officer, he or she can keep the youth and his or her family up to date on what’s happening with the processing of the case. Youth will be transported to Court, located at 1501 Arch St., for all of their hearings and will learn at each hearing what decisions have been made on their case(s).

What happens after detention at the PJJSC?

Once the Court makes a final decision as to the outcome of a youth’s case, he or she may be ordered to a placement or released back to the community – sometimes under a court-ordered program or service.

Learn more about our Court and Community programs.

If your child is in court mandated residential placement, find contact information here: view a list of our Court and Community providers here.

What if I have complaints?

Please inform the Center immediately if you feel that your child has been treated unfairly or that their civil rights have been violated.

You can contact:

  • Executive Director, PJJSC: Michael Scott at (215) 683-9112,
  • Director of Professional Services, PJJSC: Sharae’ Paris at (215) 683-9345, sharae'
  • Court Intake (24 hours/day) at (215) 686-4999
  • Philadelphia Public Defenders Association at (215) 568-3190
  • Philadelphia Juvenile Court at (215) 686-4000
  • PJJSC General Number (24 hours/day) at (215) 686-4845
  • Childline at 1-800-932-0313

Concerns or complaints can also be addressed to CARO, the Commissioners Action Response Office, by calling (215) 683-6000 or emailing

PREA policy

The Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center (JJSC) has established a Zero Tolerance Policy in its efforts to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Federal Law of 2003.

PREA is a federal law enacted in 2003 created to eliminate sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and retaliation in confinement facilities; both juvenile and adult.

Sexual misconduct between staff and juveniles; volunteers or contract personnel and juveniles; or juveniles and juveniles, regardless of consensual status, is strictly prohibited.

For more information, refer to the PREA Policy and Reports.