No visits for now at Juvenile detention centers

Public Safety. The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission has suspended visits at secure care facilities and residential community homes.

15 Mar 2020 | 10:02

    Out of an abundance of caution, the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) is temporarily suspending visits for the next 30 days, effective immediately, to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    “In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of JJC residents and staff, we have taken the necessary step of limiting visits to our JJC facilities,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “JJC residents, family members, and guardians are being informed of these changes and are being provided with information on how to access additional phone calls and video visits. I want to express my thanks to the JJC staff who work tirelessly to ensure that the young people in our care have the support and services they need, particularly during difficult times.”

    “Actively promoting and maintaining family connection is part of the JJC’s mission because family support is fundamental to helping young people grow and thrive,” said Dr. Jennifer LeBaron, Acting Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission. “However, we are in the midst of a public health crisis, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our youth, staff, and the public is our number one priority. We thank our residents and their families for their patience and understanding during this difficult time.”

    In an effort to mitigate the impact of this temporary measure, the JJC is increasing access to other forms of communication with families, including expanding access to additional phone calls, free-of-charge, and expanding access to video visits.

    Visits related to legal representation are not impacted by the suspension.

    This latest action is part of a series of measures the JJC is taking to address the pandemic, including:

    Conducting COVID-19 related health screenings upon admission of youth to the JJC;

    Screening of other visitors, such as contractors and attorneys, entering facilities;

    Restricting the transfer of youth coming from county detention centers who present with flu-like symptoms or lower respiratory tract symptoms;

    Routine messaging to staff regarding the need to stay home and seek medical attention if they have traveled, had contact with individuals impacted by COVID-19, or are experiencing flu-like symptoms or lower respiratory tract symptoms;

    Requiring that staff disclose travel activity;

    Enhanced sanitation and education efforts to mitigate the spread of germs;

    Directing the use of medically supported personal protective equipment, where and when determined to be medically necessary;

    Preparing medical quarantine areas for impacted youth to be utilized if deemed necessary by medical personnel;

    Continued sharing of information with county detention centers.

    For the latest information on COVID-19, state residents are encouraged to visit nj.gov/health/coronavirus or dial the state’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-222-1222.