Juvenile Temporary Detention Program

The Cook County Office of the Chief Judge oversees the administration of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC). The JTDC is a detention facility for minors between the ages of ten and up to eighteen who are subject to Juvenile Court or Adult Criminal Court jurisdiction. 

“Juvenile detention is defined as…the temporary and safe custody of juveniles who are accused of conduct subject to the jurisdiction of the court who require a restricted environment for their own or the community’s protection while pending legal action.”

Residents in juvenile detention are still presumed innocent. By its very nature, juvenile detention is temporary.

The JTDC is an equal opportunity employer and complies with the Shakman Decree.

Superintendent: Leonard B. Dixon

    Mission, Vision & Core Values

    Overview Information


    The JTDC community provides a safe and secure environment that offers the highest quality of integrated services where youth are challenged to make positive changes.


    The JTDC leads the nation in setting juvenile detention best practices.

    Core Values

    • Accountability - Willingness to accept responsibility with a strong work ethic, work hard, be dependable, maintain confidentiality and display positive a attitude. 
    • Compassion - A sensitivity and an emotional reaction to the JTDC resident’s and colleague’s situation. 
    • Courage - The confidence to act in accordance with your beliefs and convictions. 
    • Devotion - Loyalty and enthusiasm to maintain a clean, healthy, safe and secure environment for JTDC residents and colleagues.
    • Diversity - An excellent workforce comprised of different abilities, experience, knowledge and strengths.
    • Integrity - An unyielding personal, professional and institutional quality of being honest and adhering to moral principles and character. 
    • Leadership - Ability to effectively guide and direct a group or team. 
    • Respect - Treating residents and colleagues in a dignified manner acknowledging who they are as a person and listening to their concerns.
    • Services - Individualized and integrated programs to serve JTDC residents in collaboration with community organizations and juvenile justice professionals.
    • Structure - How the facility is constructed with the highest detention standards, best practice, evidence-based programs and continuous quality improvement.

    Overview Information

    Our History

    Dedicated on August 7, 1907, the three story Chicago Juvenile Court building at 202 Ewing Street in Chicago was the first of its kind in the nation, providing detention housing for 53 delinquent boys, as well as housing for 50 dependent boys and girls.

    In 1973, a five-story facility was completed and named the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC). The facility has 30 separate housing pods each accommodating 16 to 18 residents with a total functional capacity of 382 residents.

    In 1999, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit, Doe v. Cook County, No. 99 C 3945, regarding inadequate conditions of confinement at the JTDC. After a series of federal court orders, including the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), the Agreed Supplemental Order (ASO), and the Modified Implementation Plan (MIP), Cook County entered into a settlement agreement in the lawsuit.

    In 2007, the Illinois Legislature passed Public Act 095-0194 transferring the administrative control of the JTDC from the Cook County Board to the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, effective January 1, 2008.

    On August 14, 2007 the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois appointed a Transitional Administrator (TA).   The Office of the Transitional Administrator (OTA) was created to bring the JTDC into substantial compliance with the aforementioned court orders while fostering an efficient and orderly transition of administrative and operational authority to the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

    On May 20, 2015, the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois found that JTDC was in substantial compliance with federal mandates and transferred administrative control to the Office of the Chief Judge. 

    On September 16, 2015 the Court closed the case and ended all federal oversight of JTDC.

    Overview Information

    Comprehensive Case-Management Model

    JTDC implements a comprehensive case-management model which works with stakeholders to ensure the continuity of care for all minors held at JTDC. Each minor in detention is assigned a caseworker. The caseworker will help the resident adjust to the facility's environment and will assist the resident.

    Overview Information


    All JTDC residents participate in structured programming, school and the behavior management program. Residents are also offered opportunities to participate in activities during their stay. 

    Structured programming is the construct that provides institutional order, consistency and stability in the day-to-day facility operations.[i]  Daily programming is essential to the smooth operation of any household or facility, regardless of size. The programming piece at JTDC contains best practices in classification, assessment, access to family and attorneys, education, meals, environment, mental health, medical and pro-social activities.  JTDC behavior management programming is evidence-based or considered a promising approach. All residents attend Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School, a Chicago Public School, while detained at JTDC. Programming is necessary to ensure that youth in our custody receive constitutionally mandated care. JTDC programming begins at 6:00 a.m. and ends at 10:00 p.m.  

    Activities are additional ancillary services provided to educate and enhance programming. Through partnership with over 60+ community organizations and trained volunteers, JTDC provides a myriad of services and activities spanning the youth’s life and planned community reentry. There are over 63 community stakeholders, 212 activities and over 16,000 visitors and volunteers entering the JTDC each year.

    Overview Information

    Medical & Mental Health

    JTDC’s Medical and Mental Health services are certified by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. 

    Cermak Health Services at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center is the primary health care provider for the children detained daily at the JTDC. Onsite services include primary care, chronic care management, dental, medication administration, and nursing sick calls. Off-site specialty clinics are also available through the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital including the Emergency Department and Trauma Center, Fantus Clinic and Core Clinic.  

    Northwestern is the mental health provider at the JTDC and provides a range of services that include comprehensive mental health evaluations, medication management, regular monitoring of treatment, psycho-educational groups, counseling, behavior management, coordination of care with community service providers, referrals for hospitalization, and linkages to aftercare treatment. Northwestern’s team of mental health professionals includes psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and mental health specialists.

    Overview Information

    Release Information

    Minors will only be released to their parent, legal guardian or responsible adult unless a court order states differently. Minors will not be released to non-law enforcement individuals between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

    Contact Information

    Volunteer & Intern Programs

    JTDC welcomes volunteers and internships. Please contact JTDC’s Director of Volunteer Services for information about volunteering or internship programs at JTDC. 

    Tynetta Towner-Brown, M.S.
    Director of Volunteer/Gender Services
    Programs and Professional Services

    Office:  (312) 433-5775
    Fax:     (312) 433-5968
    Email: Tynetta.Towner-Brown@cookcountyil.gov

    Location Info: Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center

    Frequently Asked Questions

      No. Residents are not allowed to receive incoming phone calls. Residents will have an opportunity to make free phone calls to their parents/guardians. A Resident’s attorney or other official may contact the Resident’s caseworker to arrange a phone call with a resident.

      Yes. All mail must go through the United States Postal Service.

      Address mail to:

      Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center,
      {Resident's Name}, (Resident’s Center)
      1100 S. Hamilton Ave., Chicago, IL 60612

      Only letters or cards are allowed. No packages will be accepted and will be returned to the sender.

      No. The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center supplies the juveniles with clothing, hygiene, food and commissary items.

      Yes. Residents attend the Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School, a Chicago Public School.  The program is a year-round accredited school which allows residents the opportunity to continue their education while detained.

      Yes. The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center offers all residents weekly religious services.  JTDC has a Chaplin and Catholic Priest who regularly offer religious services to residents.  Residents do not have to participate if they choose not to attend.

      Yes. Each resident is provided with medical care from the time of admission throughout their period of detention. This continuous care includes a medical screening for his/her clinical history at the time of admission and a health assessment.

      Yes. The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center provides mental health services to all residents.

      Yes. The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center welcomes volunteers to help provide support for residents. All volunteer activities are provided on-site under the supervision of the JTDC staff. Volunteers must complete an application form, interview, and background check. Additional information can be obtained by calling (312) 433-5775.

      Other than residents who have been sentenced, the majority of residents' cases at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center are pre-adjudicatory. This means they are still waiting for the outcome of their case, or the "disposition" of their case, before being released to their parent, guardian, residential placement or the state-run Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is post-adjudicatory, meaning the residents have been found guilty of a delinquent offense and the resident was ordered to serve their sentence at the state facility. Residents in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice can remain there until they are 21-years-old.

      Due to both security and confidentiality issues, tours of the secure portions of the facility are not allowed.



      Definitions of Common Juvenile Justice Terms



      Adjudicated DelinquentA youth who has been found by a judge in juvenile court to have committed a violation of the criminal law, that is, a delinquent act. The judge can formally adjudicate the youth as an initial step before imposing a disposition (a sentence or punishment), or the judge can decide not to adjudicate the youth and instead impose conditions that, if met, will result in dismissal of the charges.
      Adjudicated HearingThe fact finding (trial) phase of a juvenile case in which a judge receives and weighs evidence before deciding whether a delinquency or status offense has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
      Delinquent ActAny act committed by a youth that would be a criminal violation if committed by an adult.
      Delinquent JuvenileA youth who has been found responsible for having committed a delinquent act – the equivalent of being found guilty of a criminal offense.
      DetentionIn custody (secure, non-secure, or home confinement) while awaiting an adjudication hearing, disposition, or commitment placement.
      Detention HearingA judicial hearing generally required to be held within 72 hours of a youth being taken into custody, at which point the court determines whether (1) there is probable cause to believe that the youth has committed a delinquent act or a court order exists that requires the continued detention of the youth, and (2) continued detention is required pending an adjudicatory hearing.
      Dispositional HearingThe hearing in a juvenile case (like a sentencing hearing in criminal court) at which the court receives a predisposition report containing information and recommendations to help determine the appropriate sanction. These sanctions can include probation, commitment to the custody of the state's department of juvenile justice, or community-based sanctions.
      Status OffensesNon-criminal offenses only applicable to children – for example, being truant, running away from home, possessing alcohol or cigarettes, or violating curfew.