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The National Trial Lawyers

Juvenile Detention Alternatives: An Overview

Law Office of Katie Walsh

A wide variety of juvenile detention alternatives exist in California. Going over these juvenile detention alternatives and speaking with a California criminal defense lawyer will allow you and your child to obtain the best possible legal outcome.

What Is Juvenile Detention?

Many of those who are arrested for a crime but are under the age of eighteen go through the juvenile justice system. 

A variety of differences and distinctions exist with regard to the California juvenile justice system and the adult criminal justice system.

Out of all the differences and distinctions that exist, one of the most notable is that minors who are sentenced to confinement must, more often than not, go to juvenile detention, as opposed to jail or prison.

Right before we go over what juvenile detention is like, it’s important to note that “juvenile hall” is distinct from “juvenile detention.” 

A juvenile hall is a form of short-term detention where a minor may be forced to wait until they receive a sentence from the court.

On the other hand, “juvenile detention” is a long-term arrangement in which a minor has been ordered to stay in confinement within a juvenile detention facility due to the crime that they have been found guilty of.

Right within a juvenile detention facility, a minor will have access to:

  • A dormitory.
  • Dining areas.
  • Recreation areas.
  • Medical/mental health facilities.
  • Classrooms.

Outside of the above, though, it is likely that a minor will be exposed to:

  • Acts of violence from the other minors within the facility.
  • Rules that they must abide by unless they wish to face consequences.
  • A rigid series of routines and acts that they must live within.

None of these are pleasant, and, as such, it is important that minors and their parents are aware of the three most notable alternatives to juvenile detention.

What Are The 3 Most Notable Juvenile Detention Alternatives?

There are several alternatives to juvenile detention that exist. Some of the most notable of these juvenile detention alternatives are as follows:

  • Being confined to one’s home rather than a juvenile detention facility.
  • Joining a group home.
  • Going to a day reporting center.

Regarding the first alternative, this is called “house arrest,” and if the court deems it effective, then a minor can be sentenced to stay at home for most of the day while going to school and, if applicable, work.

Even though house arrest is quite restrictive, it is far less so than juvenile detention. And, in turn, it is often far safer and far better for a minor’s mental health.

Regarding the second alternative, a group home is, more often than not, a staff-secured facility, as opposed to a locked facility. This, combined with the presence of fewer people and fewer restrictions, allows minors to live and interact with their community while in a group home.

The third alternative is a highly structured alternative that requires a minor to report to a facility for several days a week. But, at night, the minor can go back home.

None of these alternatives are ideal, necessarily, but they are all better than going to juvenile detention.

Speak With An Orange County Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Going to a juvenile detention facility is never ideal. Speak with an Orange County juvenile criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Katie Walsh today, and we will assist you and your child in obtaining the best possible legal outcome.

Client Reviews

I hired attorney Katie Walsh to help my son when he was found with a large amount of drugs on school campus. She got us through the Expulsion Hearing, and miraculously he can go back to school at the winter semester...

AR- parent of minor client

I hired Katie Walsh to have my felony convictions expunged. She was able to expunge my record within 6 weeks of me giving her all the information. Even though technically I had a probation violation, and therefore the...

AR, criminal client

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CT, parent of juvenile client

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DH - Parent of Juvenile client

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DR- mother of juvenile client

Katie Walsh was fantastic throughout this entire process! My 13 year old son was charged with two counts of lewd act on a minor, PC 288(a) and was in juvenile hall. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she GOT MY SON OUT OF JAIL and...

EG, parent of juvenile client

My 14 year old son was arrested at school for P.C. 311 (child pornography). My son had innocent and stupid nude pictures of himself and friends on his phone. Ms. Walsh was extremely easy to talk to, and made my son feel...

GK,TK, parents of juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was a life saver when I didn't know what was going on, or how to handle the situation. My young daughter was attacked at her middle school and was seriously injured. At a time when both the school and the...

HA, mother of 13 year old Victim Rights client

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JW, former juvenile client

I was charged with a Felony Conspiracy charge- PC 182. After hiring Ms. Walsh she got my charged reduced to a misdemeanor right away, and now I just have to do community service and in 6 months my entire case will be...

KP, juvenile client

Ms. Walsh was like a breath of fresh air throughout this entire process. I was uncertain about the outcome, but she told me everything would be ok- and it was. She had my juvenile record sealed within 3 months of...

LR, former juvenile client

Ms. Walsh got the judge to terminate my son's probation and seal his 2 juvenile cases (Penal Code 288(a) and Penal Code 242) even though he had violated my probation by picking up a new case. By getting his record sealed...

MB- mother of juvenile client

At a very difficult time in my life I contacted attorney Katie Walsh. I am a teacher and was being harassed/stalked by a parent at my school. I wanted a Restraining Order against this person. Ms. Walsh listened to me...

MB, restraining order client

My son was charged with Lewd Conduct, P.C. 647 out of Downey, CA. After hiring Ms. Walsh, she spoke with the District Attorney, Probation, and the Judge. Even though the judge was not pleased with the offer, she was able...

MG, parent of minor

It is with sincere gratitude that I send this recommendation As a parent of a child that was arrested on a Felony Domestic Abuse charge and over 2000 miles away I had to rely on friend of a friends word that you would...

MPF, mother of criminal client

I really liked having Ms. Walsh as my attorney. She visited me in Juvenile Hall. I was charged with four counts of Robbery (Penal Code 211). This was my 8th juvenile petition. Ms. Walsh got 2 of the robbery charges...

MU, juvenile client

I was arrested for a felony Domestic charge, PC 273.5(a). After I hired Katie Walsh, my entire case was dismissed. I never had to appear in court. I felt very comfortable with Ms. Walsh- she was easy to speak with...

NF, criminal client

Katie was instrumental in helping me with a criminal matter as an advocate for me and my children when I was a named victim in a DV case. She patiently and expediently addressed all of my questions and was an invaluable...


My daughter was pulled over arrested for having a Fake ID. After hiring Ms. Walsh my daughter did not have to plead guilty- which would have affected her license status. She did community service, completed a legal...


My 14 year old daughter was involved in an assault and battery- PC 240/242, in Irvine. After hiring Katie Walsh the case was not referred to Court. My daughter was able to complete a class and the case will be dismissed...

SG, mother a juvenile client

My son was charged with possession of Child Pornography P.C. 311.11(a) - a charge I did not realize a child could be guilty of! As parents were beside ourselves when we found this out, and contacted Katie Walsh. She...

SH- mother of juvenile client

From San Diego I contacted Ms. Walsh about sealing my juvenile record in Orange County regarding a Petty Theft charge. She was always very responsive to any of my questions, and consistently kept me updated. Even though...

XL, juvenile client

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