Walter Hopson, Superintendent
P.O. Box 2191
165 Sunset Ave.
Toms River, NJ 08754
Google Map for 165 Sunset Ave
Juvenile Detention Overview
The Center's mission is, simply stated, to keep the residents safe and secure during their court process. The Center's goal is to help the residents develop into more secure individuals, to promote positive changes in their personal development and to help them return as productive and socially adjusted members of the community. Alternative behaviors, alternative value systems, and alternative thinking patterns are seen as the keys to unlocking more promising futures.
In order to achieve this, the Center's Social Service Department has developed a coordinated program that incorporates and balances all the elements of a detention center into a rehabilitative environment. Instead of looking at each element of the program as a separate entity, the elements are designed to compliment and reinforce each other so that the juvenile receives one consistent "message" from every person in the Center, from the cooks to the Superintendent.
The Center recognizes that years of maladaptive formation will not be easily changed, but this is not an excuse for inaction. The Center believes that it should do whatever it can with all available resources to have a positive effect on the juveniles' decision-making processes.
This overall vision and comprehensive approach is the strength of the Ocean County Juvenile Center.
The Behavior Management System
The facility utilizes a behavior management program rich with incentives to control Juveniles' behaviors. The program is effective in motivating juveniles to obey the rules. Realistic behavior expectations are clearly promulgated to all residents and are consistently enforced. The system permeates the Center's environment from the classroom to the basketball court.
The residents' day is divided into ten distinct time periods. Each period includes a specific activity, such as cleanup or math. Completion of the activity earns the residents a point. Residents can earn up to 10 points per day. The daily total determines their evening bedtime and activities for the day.
All major behavioral offenses are subject to review by a Behavior Review Board. The board reviews the severity of the offenses and responds according to the individualized needs of the Juvenile, consistent with the safety and security of the facility. Exemplary behavior is further rewarded through the use of Honors status. Residents who earn Honor status receive extra privileges such as special visits by friends, later bedtime, and/or an extra telephone call.
The Center provides residents with a formal written grievance procedure whereby complaints or suggestions can be communicated to the Administrator or other staff. This procedure allows for an ever-increasing level of appeal from the Supervising Detention Officer to an outside grievance review officer appointed by the Administrator.
The operational philosophy of the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center is based on the premise that there are no "bad" kids but just kids who do "bad" things. Juveniles entering the facility are the unfinished products of maladaptive behavior in response to a generally dysfunctional social history. The behavior is usually grounded in a distorted thought process, rudimentary value system, and very low self-esteem.
The Social Services Unit has the responsibility of evaluating individual needs, recommending specific action plans within the facility, and assisting the custody staff implement the behavior management program. These processes transcend the traditional individual programmatic boundaries within the center and throughout the system as a whole. The Center supplements its evaluation process by pursuing discharge summaries, evaluations, and other pertinent information from all agencies and institutions that have had prior contact with the Juvenile, such as school districts, and rehabilitation programs. In addition, the social workers are a liaison to family, the Court, and other agencies regarding the residents.
Representatives from the State Juvenile Justice Commission, the County Probation Supervision Unit, the State Division of Youth and Family Services, and other involved professionals attend weekly meetings at the Center. This Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) reviews each resident and treatment options and services are presented to the Family Court for consideration in the adjudication process.
The involved agencies have found these meetings to be a unique opportunity to exchange information and express their viewpoint.
Individual counseling is provided for every resident at least once each week by the Social Service staff, although in practice the staff sees the residents every day. Extensive use of local resources is made on behalf of the residents. The Center works closely with the Ocean County Health Department and the local Family Planning organization to provide the residents with information on sexually communicated diseases, including AIDS and HIV.
In addition the Center has reached out to the surrounding community with preventative programs. The Center staff cooperates with the public affairs officers of the local police departments by speaking at community meetings, parents groups, etc.. Tours are also provided to local schools (there is no contact between the residents and the school groups) wherein county adolescents are given a realistic presentation of the structure of a Juvenile Detention program.
Substance Abuse Program
The facility provides a weekly substance abuse education program. This program is an interactive group activity that explores all aspects of substance abuse and its effects. As an educational group, one the goals is to help create responsible citizens who are able to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of those around them. The participants will be able to:
Creative WritingCreative Writing is a class that meets weekly. This class encourages a creative outlet and assists in giving residents a better understanding of the written word. Members read and discuss poetry, prose and other forms of written expression, develop and write self-created works, and participate in weekly writing assignments either individually or as a group. A bi-monthly publication of their work will be distributed throughout the facility.
Anger ManagementThis group provides an effective anger management treatment to residents who experience anger problems. It is divided into three areas: prevention, containment, and resolution. It focuses on learning ways to not get angry, even when you could get angry. Controlling their anger when it becomes intense. Acquiring resolutions skills such as fair fighting, negotiating and praise giving as a way to solve problems. Participants are chosen based upon assessments by staff members and recurring behavior problems resulting from anger.
Religious ActivityThe facility provides a twice weekly opportunity to those residents who desire to participate in religious activities. Representatives of various religious denominations participate on a rotating basis.
VolunteersThe facility makes use of volunteers that may bring a message of hope and the possibility of change to the residents. Guest speakers and pet therapy are utilized.
EducationThe education program is governed by State Statute which mandates a minimum of 33 hours per week for at least 220 days per year. It is administered by the Ocean County Vocational School. The curriculum mirrors that of the school districts. The teachers are all certified in the subject they teach. The residents’ previous school records are obtained and maintained by this facility for the duration of the residents’ stay. When a resident leaves the school records are then sent to next school attended. As a result, the resident can graduate from his/her own school district. In addition the school program is designed to simulate the school district's atmosphere so as to prepare a juvenile to reenter the normal classroom structure.
TrainingAll staff members, new or experienced, receive continuous training throughout the year. New employees attend over 120 hours of training in their first year and more than 60 hours each additional year.
The Center utilizes both in-house and outside professional training services. Outside sources include the state's Department of Corrections and Division of Youth and Family Services. In-house training sources include experienced and certified staff members or supervisors, certified professionals (such as CPR trainers), and visiting specialists or experts in specific fields or techniques.
Medical ServicesA nurse and/or doctor examine newly admitted juveniles within 24 hours. When the initial examination is by a nurse, a physician performs a follow-up examination within 72 hours. A nurse is in the facility from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily and a doctor visits the Center every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The doctor and nurse are on call 24 hours a day as is a dentist. A dental screening is included in the health assessment.
Routine physical examinations given to all juveniles upon admission may identify for the social services and/or educational programs physical problems that would require programmatic adaptation to begin the successful implementation of these programs. These physical problems, which may have gone undetected or masked by delinquent behavior, can then be properly addressed both medically and programmatically
RecreationResidents are provided with a balance of daily indoor and outdoor activities throughout the year. Outside activities include basketball, volleyball, frisbee, softball, flag football and whiffleball. Indoor activities include a wide variety of table games, universal weight machine, and weekly movies.
MealsAll meals are cooked in a well-managed and maintained kitchen within the facility and meet both state and federal minimum daily requirements. Three full meals are served daily, at least one of which is hot and a nutritious snack is served every night. The cooking staff does its own baking and fresh-baked desserts are commonly found on the menu.
Staff members generally eat lunch with the residents and normal conversation is encouraged. Mealtime is designed to be a pleasurable experience for residents and staff.
Resident HygieneUpon admission, a resident's personal clothing is stored. Each resident is issued two complete sets of facility clothing that are clean, well fitting and in good condition.
Residents also receive upon admission a packet of hygiene supplies including a comb, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush. Towels and a washcloth are supplied. Residents shower every night and clothing is washed by staff and returned the next day.
Residents are required to keep their rooms neat and beds made. Specific instructions for the exact arrangement of clothing and hygiene articles are supplied. Residents clean their rooms and common areas daily. Major cleaning functions are reserved for the maintenance staff.
Visiting RegulationsVisiting is limited to parents and/or legal guardians.
If for any reason your visit is terminated, the juvenile will be removed from the visiting room, but you must remain seated until all other visits are completed.
Weekend visiting hours (for parents and/or guardians only)
Visitors are required to wear proper attire and are prohibited from bringing any personal articles (pocketbooks, coats, letters, pictures, etc.) into the institution as the facility will not be responsible for valuables.
Children will NOT be permitted in the building for any reason.
Visitors are prohibited from smoking in the building.
Visitors are expected to obey all rules and regulations of the facility and act in an orderly and courteous manner, otherwise, the visit will be terminated.
Any visitor who provides or attempts to provide any article that is unlawful for a resident to possess in violation of NJ Code of Criminal Justice 2C:29-6 and shall be charged and prosecuted accordingly.
Social Services departmentUpon admission, each resident is assigned a social worker, who will reach out to the parent or legal guardian to answer any questions and to encourage an ongoing relationship as long as the resident remains in detention.
Each new resident is assigned to the Classification unit of the facility and is eligible to move to a housing unit after completing 5 days of good behavior. Social workers names & phone numbers are listed below.
In addition to regular visiting for parents and guardians, residents may also receive professional visits and/or phone calls from lawyers, probation officers, DYFS workers, and clergy.
Supervisor, Social Services
Telephone regulationsResidents are permitted to make outgoing calls (collect only) in the evening hours in accordance with pod scheduling and resident behavior.
Resident clothing and personal propertyUpon admission all residents are issued facility clothing and grooming supplies.
All personal property (money, jewelry, etc.) is placed in an envelope and returned to parents at first visit.
Parents may provide personal grooming supplies such a toothbrush, deodorants, toothpaste (tube only), bar soaps, shampoo and chapstick if desired.
Only nonaerosol, clear plastic containers with a clear substance in the containers are allowed in the facility, any other containers will be returned. Insulated underwear between Nov. 1st and April 1st. White, gray and black, no buttons.
No food, beverages, books, magazines, tapes etc. are permitted as the facility will provide recreational equipment and meals as required. CD's and CD players will be allowed when resident reaches honors level.
Any over-the-counter personal hygiene medical supplies must be okayed by the Medical Department.
All medical questions and concerns should be directed to the nurse, Ms. Marsha Siegel at 732-288-7710.
PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS MAY ONLY BE BROUGHT IN DURING WEEKEND VISITING.
a. A person commits an offense if he knowingly and unlawfully introduces within...a detention facility or knowingly and unlawfully provides an inmate with any weapon, tool, instrument, document or other thing which may be useful for escape. The offense is a crime of the second degree and shall be punished by a minimum term of imprisonment...of no less than three years... .
b. Other contraband. A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if he provides an inmate with any other thing which the actor knows, or should know it is unlawful for the inmate to possess.