COVID-19 Pandemic Action Alert

A Message from CJJA Executive Director, Mike Dempsey

Since youth in secure confinement (juvenile detention centers, correctional schools, camps, ranches and halls) are at a heightened risk for quick transmission if exposed to the Covid-19 virus, CJJA is posting this Action Alert. This Alert summarizes the responses officials who operate juvenile facilities have taken. We urge you to consider these essential actions to protect the health and safety of youth and staff:


  • Refresh the Facility Emergency Management and Pandemic Plans and coordinate with local and state officials.
  • Review the mission essential functions in management, communications, safety and security, support and maintenance of critical business and service functions.
  • Increase internal and external communications.
  • Prevent transmission through education, handwashing, social distancing, cleaning/sanitizing surfaces.
  • Screen youth at intake for symptoms of the virus by taking their temperature and asking a series of questions.
  • Prohibit any visitors who are not necessary for medical care or daily living, except in exigent circumstances.
  • Implement virtual visitation, meetings, court hearings when appropriate.
  • If necessary, restrict staff, deliveries and visitors to essential personnel only.
  • Increase the use of online content and accessibility for youth.
  • Increase family engagement opportunities with virtual visits, texts, increased phone calls and family face time.

I encourage everyone to keep sharing information and updates using the CJJA network. Responses to the Covid-19 virus by officials operating juvenile facilities continue to evolve, and as the situation progresses and more information becomes available, we will post updates to our website. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, new information, or concerns.

We remain vigilant and hopeful that the efforts taken today will keep our youth and staff safe and healthy.


Mike Dempsey