Juvenile Court

Detention Center


The doors open each half hour during visiting times. Because of security concerns, it is important that you arrive at the designated times. Failure to do so may result in your not being able to visit with your child. Please do not bring children under the age of 18 with you when you come. Because of safety and security provisions, parents arriving with underage children will not be allowed to visit..

Detention Center Mission

To provide safety and security within a caring and learning environment.

Juvenile Detention Philosophy

Juvenile Detention values its relationships with detainees and their families, as well as with Judiciary, service staff and internal and external professionals. Smooth coordination of services for detainees is important and requires good communication and cooperation between detention personnel, court staff and community partners. The use of volunteers is paramount in helping youth develop positive relationships with adults and provide productive linkages within the community. Detention staff believes respect and integrity for all parties is necessary in creating a positive working environment.

Detention Center History

Juvenile Detention values its relationships with detainees and their families, as well as with Judiciary, service staff and internal and external professionals. Smooth coordination of services for detainees is important and requires good communication and cooperation between detention personnel, court staff and community partners. The use of volunteers is paramount in helping youth develop positive relationships with adults and provide productive linkages within the community. Detention staff believes respect and integrity for all parties is necessary in creating a positive working environment.

The original Youth Home, which was built in the early 1960's with a capacity of 12 juveniles, was renovated in the mid 1980's, at which time its capacity was increased to 16 beds. By 1989, the tremendous population growth experienced by Ottawa County (which continues unabated) was already straining the resources of both the Court and Youth Home. At that time, Court and Detention administrators contracted with a private consultant, Mike McMillen, to explore the options for expansion.

At the same time, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department was looking to expand its overcrowded adult jail. After several failed attempts, construction of a new jail was finally approved in 1992, with construction slated to begin in 1993. With the new jail approved, and a large tract of previously undeveloped county-owned land chosen for its location, plans for the new Juvenile Detention Center and Court to be located at 12120 Fillmore Street in West Olive, Michigan quickly began to take shape.

Building design consideration included individualized pods, which includes five 8 person pods with individualized sleeping rooms for each resident. This design promotes optimal group work and enhances our peer based behavior management system called Guided Group Interaction. Technology was also crucial in the design to provide good surveillance as well as audio monitoring.

Although we are attached to the jail, we are completely sight and sound separated. This has been accomplished through policy, separate control of electronic doors between the jail and detention and a privacy fence along the perimeter of the juvenile security fence. We moved into the new facility in July of 1994.

Only a few years after moving into the new detention center, being over capacity was again an issue. Probation and Detention administrators implemented an early-release policy in 1998 and effectively headed off any serious problems.

In January 1998, Juvenile Court was moved from the Probate Court to the 20th Circuit Court. The Juvenile Detention Center is a working unit of the Juvenile Court. Chief Judge for the Circuit Court is Edward Post. Judge Mark Feyen, Probate Judge, is the presiding judge. The Circuit Court Administrator is Kevin Bowling. The Juvenile Court Director is Thom Lattig. Bob Alward is the Detention Center’s Superintendent. Sara Trigg is the Detention Center’s Assistant Superintendent. The Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent are administrative team members within the Juvenile Court.

Facility Description

The 20th Judicial Circuit Court Juvenile Detention Center provides secure detention for 40 male and female pre and post adjudicated residents (9-17 years of age). The single story facility occupies a building that includes the Probate Court, Juvenile Court, Clerks Office training facilities and Ottawa County Jail.

The Detention Center, located on a 600-plus acre county campus, is comprised of 5 individual 8 bed pods, each having its own living area for meals, study, television, and pod programming. In addition, there is a day room for recreational activities and a gymnasium for large muscle activities. All sleeping rooms have natural lighting, and the entire facility is air conditioned. A backup diesel generator provides electricity during power outages. Water is provided through the Grand Rapids Water Department. Water is tested monthly by the county health department. Sewage is handled by a sewage disposal plant managed by the county. A perimeter 15 foot chain link fenced-in area provides open air recreation for all residents. On the campus property, which borders a heavily-wooded county park. All pods can be viewed, and all doors within detention controlled from a central control center. In addition, the detention center houses administrative offices, 4 classrooms, intake area, medical office, locked medication room and visitor lobby. The facility is accessed from the court or directly from the outside of the building.

American Correctional Association Accredited

In 2001, the Ottawa County Detention Center became the only American Correctional Association accredited juvenile facility in Michigan. Subscribing to 300 standards that address every facet of detention assures good practices. These practices generally exceed state licensing requirements. Standards include annual inspections performed by a certified fire inspector, county environmental health inspector and a state licensing inspector. Monthly fire safety checks are completed by a trained administrative staff member. Weekly risk assessments and resident morale checks are made by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent. Checks of all fire exits and exit lights are made on every shift by facility staff.

Resident Services

The Jail and Detention Center are sight and sound separated, but share several services. The county contracts with a private vendor to provide food service for adult inmates and juvenile residents. Residents receive breakfast, lunch, dinner and an evening snack. The kitchen is staffed in part by jail inmates. Juveniles do not take part in any meal preparation or service. Detention Center clothing and linens are laundered by jail inmates as well. Juveniles' personal clothing is laundered by Detention staff. In addition, medical services are provided by a contracted entity, VitalCore Health Strategies. They provide on site nurses who are available 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and Sundays and on call after hours. Monday through Friday, an assigned nurse provides time for physicals, sick calls and TB tests. A medical doctor makes rounds one day per week or on an as needed basis.

Education is provided by the Light House Academy. Residents are in school 8:25 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. weekdays, year-round. The curriculum is designed to improve individual resident competency as well as provide credit when residents return to their home school district. The Light House Academy provides five certified teachers (one teacher is special education certified) and one teacher assistant. They develop annual goals, new curriculum, and new strategies in working with our high risk population. Strong emphasis is on technology and art. Both areas provide ample time on computers and time to develop expression through art. Upgrades have included a distance learning center and laptop computers for e-learning. In 1997, the facility's education program was named runner-up to the best special education program in the state among all programs, including all public schools.

Library services are available to all residents several times a week. The facility works with the Head Librarian of the Loutit Library in Grand Haven for assistance in selecting and purchasing library materials for residents. Residents may check out 4 library books at a time and hold them for up to two weeks.

Some youth are ordered into detention for a specified period of time through the Detention Incentive Program that can last upwards of 120 days, but the length of time varies. During this period, these residents meet weekly individually with a licensed therapist for review, goal setting, and working on issues such as anger, depression and reunification.

Mental health services are provided when needed. Community Mental Health Staff provide 24 hour suicide risk assessments on an on call basis. They also provide consultation on residents that score high on our MAYSI assessment for thought disturbance. A psychiatric physician’s assistant is scheduled twice a month for medication reviews.

Agreements are in place for services for residents that have been sexually abused. The Child Advocacy Center provides assessments, counseling, and participates in criminal investigations of alleged sexual abuse.

Behavior Program

Detention can be a difficult place to develop and maintain a peer based behavior management system. Detention is a place where the average stay is approximately 11 days. This seems too short of a period of time to establish a culture that lives the peer based behavior management system. However, the 20th Judicial Circuit Court has maintained one since the early 90's. The outcome is that there are few physical assaults and/or mechanical restraints. Residents participate in maintaining good behavior by using a system which is labeled guided group interaction, "GGI". With this system, residents can develop new skills and become leaders. The two level system gives residents the opportunity to gain more privileges by demonstrating helpful behavior through positive, helpful interaction with their peers. In addition, GGI uses the four-quadrant, Dr. Ken Blanchard, situational leadership model to help staff understand at what level each pod is performing. With GGI, staff can head off problems rather than react to problems. The proof of the program is in minimal assaultive behavior by residents on residents as well as marginal assaults on staff.


Detention uses a state-of-the-art database system that is web-based and user friendly. So many times data systems are designed for Courts or detention centers. This one is designed for both. Therefore, it has all judicial information as well as detainee information. In addition, the system provides management for daily programming, medical services, and facility security. Finding information within the system is user easy, making it helpful for the management within the facility as well as other entities. The system provides e-mail alerts to our stakeholders within the courts system and those in related counties or agencies.

Staffing and Scheduling

The Detention Center staff is comprised of a Superintendent, an Assistant Superintendent, an Administrative Aide, 6 shift supervisors, 16 full time youth specialists, 1 part time benefited youth specialist, and 16 relief youth specialist. Three shifts per day are designed to overlap for formal information exchange between shifts. Meetings include teaching staff which is comprised of 4 full time certified teachers, and 2 para-pros.

Funding Sources

The Family Division (Juvenile Court) administers a number of programs that provide options for the disposition of juvenile cases, ranging from probation to institutionalization to various counseling programs. Neither the court, nor the county is mandated to make available any specific programs; however the Juvenile Code does state the law "...shall be liberally construed so that each juvenile coming within the court's jurisdiction receives the care, guidance and control, preferably in his or her own home, conducive to the juvenile's welfare and the best interest of the state." MCL 712A.1 (3).

In addition, MCL 400.23 requires the state to reimburse the county for 50% of expenses of providing certain juvenile services involving out of home placement or alternatives designed to prevent out of home placement. MCL 400.117 a (c) defines a juvenile justice service as including "intake, detention, detention alternatives, probation, foster care, diagnostic evaluation and treatment, shelter care, or any other service approved by the state DHS..." The portion of the costs of these services which is not covered by the state is paid for by the county. The relationship of the county and the state, and what programs the county will provide and what the state will pay for, is formally agreed to through the Child Care Fund Plan and Budget, which is annually approved by the Court and the Board of Commissioners.

Out-Of County Services

The following services are available upon request:

  • Bed Rental contracts with other counties.

Wellness Policy

The Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center promotes healthy meals by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity as part of the total learning environment.

Component 1 – Nutrition

Goal -Nutrition plays an important role in the overall physical and mental development of youth, and poor nutrition adversely affects academic achievement and overall health. The Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center will be committed to providing nutritious meals through contract with Aramark Correctional Services. We will follow all Michigan Department of Education School Lunch Program guidelines and USDA rules regulating the School Lunch Program for the youth served.

Component 2 – Nutrition Education

Goal – Nutrition Education will involve sharing information with staff and youth to positively impact the youth served. Nutrition education will be provided as a component of the school curriculum (including E2020 online classes), and as a life skills component in the facility. Topics included but not limited to: sources and varieties of foods, diet and disease, healthy diet, food labels, understanding calories.

Component 3 – Physical Activities

The Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center supports the initiative to promote good health, lifelong wellness and physical activity in the academics of each youth. In addition, youth will participate in regularly scheduled physical education activities along with the educational component. A 45 minute Physical Education class is offered 5 days a week. As part of the Physical Education the Physical Education teacher schedules resident/staff activities. OCJDC provides a minimum of 60 minutes of large muscle activity daily.

Component 4 – Other School Based Activities

The Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center supports the initiative to promote good health, lifelong wellness, and physical activities in the activities of each resident. The juvenile detention center has a garden that is planted and maintained by the students with coordination and support from the Intermediate School District teachers. In coordination with the Ottawa County Intermediate School District we will use teaching materials and activities in participation with the Michigan Department of Education School Lunch Program.

To accomplish these goals:
  • Comply with federal state and local requirements for daily meals offered.
  • Annual audit of menus of a licensed dietician through Aramark Correctional Services.
  • Annual audit and inspection by the Michigan Department of Human Services, Child and Adult Licensing.
  • All foods and beverages available during the school day should be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • 1% milk and skim milk is provided daily.
  • Work with Aramark Correctional Services and licensed dietician to include food items lower in fat and sodium, and higher in fiber.
  • Encourage collaboration with Aramark Correctional Services, the Ottawa County Intermediate School District and life skills program to promote better nutrition and healthy life style. Youth are provided an opportunity to maintain a garden. Youth are also able to enjoy the produce from the garden as a supplement to meals provided by Aramark Correctional Services.
  • Monitor annually for the Food Service monitoring on a run menu review, ACA standard 4A-04 and 4A-05.
  • Monitor annually for the Food Service monitoring on a run menu review, ACA standard 4A-04 and 4A-05.
  • Bi-annual food service inspections conducted by the Ottawa County Health Department.
  • Aramark Correctional Services Supervisor is ServeSafe trained and certified.
  • Nutrition education will be provided and promoted within the school wellness program.
  • The Detention Center will promote and monitor annually education initiative in collaboration with the school program, Aramark Correctional Services and with the use of the life skills program. These activities include, but are not limited to: Traditional American Thanksgiving & Christmas
  • Physical activity will be available as a component of the school curriculum as required. Resident and staff sporting events will occur on occasion throughout the year.
  • Physical activities will be promoted and provided outside the curriculum and school day, monitored through ACA standards as follows:
    • 3-JDF-5E-01 Facilities of less than 50 juveniles have staff members trained in recreation or related fields.
    • 3-JDF-5E-02 Written policy and procedures grant juveniles access to recreational opportunities and equipment including when the climate permits outdoor exercise.
    • 3-JDF-5E-03 A variety of fixed and movable equipment is provided for each outdoor and indoor recreational period.
    • 3-JDF-5E-04 Written policy, procedure and practice provide a recreation and leisure-time plan that includes, at a minimum, at least one hour per day of large muscle activity and one hour of structured leisure time activities.

Development and implementation of this Local School Wellness Policy will include the following stakeholders; students comments on food surveys, grievances, and classroom studies, a representative from Aramark Correctional Services, Physical Education teacher at the juvenile detention center, a representative from Correct Care Solutions, an administrator from the juvenile detention center and parent/guardian feedback gathered quarterly at visitation.

The Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center Superintendent will be the designated official to ensure compliance with the Local Wellness Policy.

This Local Wellness Policy will be reviewed annually. It will be assessed triennially with compliance and progress made towards the policy goals. The results of each assessment will be communicated to parents during visitation.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is available in languages other than English.

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online here, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call
(866) 632-9992.

Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

Fax: (202) 690-7442

Email: program.intake@usda.gov

Conforme a las leyes federales y a los derechos civiles, reglamentos y políticas del Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA), se prohíbe a esta institución discriminar por motivo de raza, color, nacionalidad, sexo, edad, discapacidad y reprimir o tomar represalias por actividades realizadas en el pasado relacionadas con los derechos civiles. (No todos los principios de prohibición se aplican a todos los programas).

Las personas discapacitadas que requieran medios alternos para que se les comunique la información de un programa (por ejemplo, braille, letra agrandada, grabación de audio, lenguaje de señas estadounidense, etc.) deberán comunicarse con la agencia estatal o local responsable de administrar el programa o el TARGET Center del USDA al (202) 720-2600 (voz y TTY) o comunicarse con el USDA a través del Servicio Federal de Transmisión de Información al (800) 877-8339. La información del programa también está disponible en otros idiomas además del inglés.

Para presentar una queja por alegada discriminación, complete el formulario de quejas por discriminación del programa del USDA, AD-3027, que podrá encontrar en línea en http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Spanish_Form_508_Compliant_6_8_12_0.pdf o en cualquier oficina del USDA o escriba una carta dirigida al USDA que incluya toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Para solicitar una copia del formulario de presentación de quejas, comuníquese al (866) 632-9992. Envíe su formulario o carta completos al USDA por

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

Fax: (202) 690-7442

Correo Electrónico: program.intake@usda.gov

Esta institución ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.