Home /  Resource Library  /  DJJ Fact Sheets  /  DJJ History




A Brief History of the Department of Juvenile Justice

 
Facilities & Capacities   Year   History
  • Georgia State Reformatory
1
9
0
5

The Georgia State Reformatory opens in Milledgeville to serve delinquent boys formerly served in the adult penitentiary.

  • Adamsville and Augusta Reformatories
1
9
3
0
s

The Adamsville and Augusta Reformatories open in the late 1930s. Adamsville, located in Atlanta, serves females. Augusta serves African-American males.

  • Atlanta, Augusta and Milledgeville Training Schools
1
9
6
3

The original Youth Services unit is created within the Division of Family And Children Services (DFACS), which is part of the Department of Social Services. Delinquent youth are placed in one of the three training schools, formerly the reformatories. The training schools are long-term facilities for delinquent youth. At some point, Adamsville is renamed to the Atlanta Training School.

  • Macon Training School
1
9
6
4

The Macon Training School for Girls opens late in the year. The male training schools are integrated. The Atlanta Training School switches to boys aged 11-13. Augusta is for boys 13-15 years old. Milledgeville is for the older boys and the more violent boys.

  • Albany RYDC
  • Rome RYDC
  • Sandersville RYDC
  • Waycross RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 120
1
9
6
7

The first Regional Youth Detention Centers (RYDCs) are constructed by Youth Services in 1967 and 1968. Each RYDC is built to provide facilities for juvenile custody within an hour's ride of any point in Georgia. Each facility has 30 individual rooms, 18 for males and 12 for females.

  • Augusta RYDC
  • Gainesville RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 180
1
9
6
8

The Augusta and Gainesville RYDCs open.

  • Columbus Alternative Placement
  • RYDC Capacity: 180
1
9
7
1

Youth Services begins the first Community Treatment Center in Columbus. There were 23 CTCs in operation by 1991, providing a safe place for youth after school.

The Department of Human Resources (DHR) is created by merging several state departments, including DFACS, into one agency. Youth Services remains a unit of DFACS.

  • Atlanta YDC
  • Augusta YDC
  • Macon YDC
  • Milledgeville YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 180
1
9
7
2

Youth Development Centers (YDCs) are created by law in 1972 from the training schools. Community Schools are opened in Fulton, Dekalb and Chatham counties to provide alternative schools for juvenile offenders.

The DHR upgrades the Youth Services Unit to the Division of Youth Services (DYS) within DHR, after a number of juvenile court judges publicly express concern that Youth Services' programs are being "lost" and overlooked in the larger DHR.

  • Marietta RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 220
1
9
7
3

Marietta is a county-run facility built in 1956, taken over by the department in 1973.

  • Columbus RYDC
  • Macon RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 280
1
9
7
4

The county-run Macon RYDC is taken over by the department. Columbus RYDC opens. Both are 30 bed facilities.

The Division of Youth Services institutes a "Serious Offender Policy".

  • Dalton RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 310
1
9
7
5

The Dalton RYDC opens, a 30 bed facility.

  • Athens RYDC
  • Blakely RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 366
1
9
7
6

Athens is a county-run facility built in 1971 with 12 beds. Added 14 beds upon take over by the department. Blakely RYDC opens as a 30 bed facility.

Contract Detention Homes, similar to foster homes, are opened to provide emergency shelters for youth who did not commit serious offenses but can not return to their homes.

  • RYDC Capacity: 366
1
9
7
7

Senate Bill 100 is signed into law. This legislation sets specific guidelines for handling status offenders which differentiated them from delinquents. It also provides for 24-hour intake on a statewide basis and prohibits the jailing of children except for limited periods of time and under extraordinary circumstances. The juvenile justice system is changed drastically to meet these mandates.

  • Clayton RYDC
  • Macon RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 406
1
9
7
8

County-run Clayton RYDC is taken over. Macon RYDC is replaced with a new 40-bed facility.

  • RYDC Capacity: 406
1
9
7
9

The National Institute of Corrections assists DYS in studying and revamping its classification and length of stay policies. A classification system, called Determinate Sentencing and similar to the one used by the Department of Corrections (DOC), is implemented. It classifies offenders into four categories. Habitual and multiple offenders have their sentence lengths increased.

The state of Georgia settles Hall v. Skelton, a class action lawsuit involving the right to treatment of youth in YDCs. This settlement results in upgraded diagnostic orientation and counseling services and places significant restrictions on the use of detention and isolation in YDCs.

Private psychiatric facilities are contracted to provide mental health and Drug and Alcohol treatment programs, paid for by DYS.

  • Eastman RYDC
  • Griffin RYDC
  • Wolfcreek Wilderness
  • RYDC Capacity: 466
1
9
8
0

Griffin & Eastman RYDCs open. Both are 30 bed facilities. Wolfcreek Wilderness, the department's first wilderness program, opens in the north Georgia mountains as a 25 day survival program.

  • Marietta RYDC
  • Savannah RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 507
1
9
8
1

Marietta RYDC replaced with a new 41-bed facility. County-run Savannah RYDC taken over.

A new system, which determines placement and length of stay according to commitment offense and previous court history, is implemented.

The Designated Felony Act is passed, increasing commitments for violent offenders from two to five years. Sentence lengths are determined by the judge to run from 12-18 months, with time served in the RYDC not counting towards the sentence.

  • Gwinnett RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 537
1
9
8
2

Gwinnett RYDC opens, a 30 bed facility.

The General Assembly approves constitutional and legislative provisions for the creation of a statewide juvenile court system.

  • Project Adventure
  • RYDC Capacity: 537
1
9
8
3

A second wilderness program, Project Adventure, opens as a 38 day program.

  • RYDC Capacity: 537
1
9
8
5

The Public Risk Score, a 5 point scale, is created with 1 being least at risk to 5 being most serious, based on the most serious committing offense. Needs Assessments (1-5) are also created to reflect: (1)Residential support, (2) Medical, (3) Mental Health, (4)Alcohol And Drug, (5)Vocational, (6)Educational needs of the youth.

  • Claxton RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 567
1
9
8
6

Claxton RYDC opens, a 30 bed facility.

  • Dekalb RYDC
  • Savannah RYDC
  • Thomasville RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 673
1
9
8
7

Thomasville (30 beds) and Dekalb (64 beds) RYDCs open. Savannah RYDC replaced with a new 52 bed facility.

  • Macon YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 673
  • YDC Capacity: 680
1
9
9
0

Due to a spike in drug offenses, particularly among males, a special Alcohol and Drug (A&D) unit opens at the Macon YDC.

The state legislature caps population at the YDCs. Age and weight distributions are eliminated. Early release procedures begin.

  • Baxley Wilderness Program
  • Clayton RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 693
  • YDC Capacity: 730
1
9
9
1

Clayton RYDC replaced with a new 50 bed facility. The Baxley Wilderness Program opens, the first long-term wilderness program.

  • RYDC Capacity: 693
  • YDC Capacity: 730
1
9
9
2

The new Department of Children and Youth Services (DCYS) is created by the General Assembly, as recommended by the Joint Study Committee on Children and Youth.

A Placement Assessment Score, ranging from 0-26 is created. The score is based on most serious current offense, most serious prior offense, and number of prior adjudications. A risk assessment score, ranging from 1-23, is calculated using gang affiliation, sibling / parent offense history, age at first adjudication and other factors, is implemented.

  • Eastman YDF
  • RYDC Capacity: 693
  • YDC Capacity: 702
1
9
9
3

The DOC opens the Eastman Youth Development Facility (YDF) for "Heinous Juvenile Offenders."

The Multi-Service Centers (MSCs) are created by merging the Community Schools, Community Treatment Centers and the Court Service Offices in several counties.

The Safe Schools Act is passed, initially to punish youth for carrying weapons to school or selling drugs at or near a school. The law is later amended to include disrupting school, possession of drugs, vandalism on school property, and battery of a school official.

  • Davisboro YDF
  • RYDC Capacity: 693
  • YDC Capacity: 785
1
9
9
4

The DOC opens the Davisboro YDF late in the year.

The YDFs are renamed Youth Development Campuses (YDCs). The DCYS is named a special school district under state law.

Senate Bill (SB) 440 is enacted. The law contains three main provisions:

  1. Youth 13 or older who commit one of "The Seven Deadly Sins" (Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter, Rape, Aggravated Sodomy, Aggravated Child Molestation and Armed Robbery with a Firearm) are to be tried as adults.
  2. The Short Term Program (STP) is created. Youth can be placed in a YDC by a Judge for a short term Boot Camp-type program for 60 - 90 days, instead of a commitment.
  3. Designated Felons sentence lengths are extended to commitment in a YDC from 12-18 months to 9-60 months. Time served in a RYDC counts as part of sentence length.

  • Davisboro YDC
  • Irwin YDC
  • Macon YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 693
  • YDC Capacity: 1,339
1
9
9
5

City-owned facility in Irwin opens as a privatized YDC. Macon YDC male A&D unit closes. Davisboro converts to a STP YDC in September.

  • Augusta Boot Camp
  • Augusta YDC
  • Milledgeville YDC
  • Atlanta YDC
  • Pelham YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 693
  • YDC Capacity: 1,532
  • Savannah RYDC
1
9
9
6

Privatized Pelham YDC opens late in the year for females. The Chatham County Jail and Forest Park Jail are contracted to house Superior Court youth. Chatham closes in 2001. Forest Park closes in less than a year. The Augusta Boot Camp opens.

Alternate Placement (AP) units open at Augusta, Ireland, and Lorenzo Benn YDCs, as a response to RYDC overcrowding. Youth who act out in the RYDC are sent to these APs. Ireland AP closes later in the year. Savannah RYDC replaced with a new 100 bed facility.

  • Augusta Boot Camp
  • Davisboro YDC
  • Eastman YDC
  • Marietta RYDC
  • Wrightsville YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 702
  • YDC Capacity: 1,942
1
9
9
7

Eastman converts to a Long-Term (LT) YDC under the department in July. Eastman YDC adds a STP in November. Wrightsville YDC is transferred from the DOC and opens in July with 300 STP beds. Two hundred LT beds also open in October. Davisboro YDC closes. Atlanta YDC renamed Lorenzo Benn YDC. Augusta and Benn APs close. Marietta RYDC replaced with a new 50 bed facility.

The DCYS changes its name to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

The United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) investigates conditions within DJJ facilities.

  • Emanuel YDC
  • McIntosh YDC
  • Metro RYDC
  • Paulding RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,002
  • YDC Capacity: 2,482
1
9
9
8

The Metro RYDC opens to accept Fulton County detention population. Fulton Detention closes. Thomasville RYDC renamed to TJ Loftiss RYDC. Rome RYDC renamed to Bob Richards RYDC. Milledgeville YDC renamed Bill Ireland YDC. Privatized McIntosh (male) and Emanuel (female) YDCs open.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is signed between the US DOJ and the state of Georgia, which outlines specific guidelines for the operation of the DJJ.

  • Augusta Boot Camp
  • Augusta YDC
  • Lorenzo Benn YDC
  • Pelham YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,050
  • YDC Capacity: 2,254
1
9
9
9

A small Female Closed Unit opens briefly at the Augusta YDC. Pelham YDC changes to male facility. Augusta Boot Camp closes. Lorenzo Benn YDC closes.

  • Gwinnett RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,069
  • YDC Capacity: 2,476
2
0
0
0

Nineteen new beds added to the Gwinnett RYDC.

  • Bridge Institute
  • Irwin YDC
  • Marietta RYDC
  • Savannah River Challenge
  • Sumter YDC
  • Wrightsville YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,089
  • YDC Capacity: 2,187
2
0
0
1

Irwin YDC closes. Wrightsville YDC closes late in the year. Sumter YDC opens as a LT YDC. Privatized Bridge Institute opens in December as a STP. Privatized Savannah River Challenge opens in July as a STP. Twenty new beds added to the Marietta RYDC.

House Bill 201 becomes law, which expands the options and services available to juvenile court judges when sentencing youth to '90 days'. The legislation allows for youth to be placed in more appropriate programs based on their risk to the public and individual needs.

  • Bridge Institute
  • Emanuel YDC
  • McIntosh YDC
  • Pelham YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,089
  • YDC Capacity: 1,741
2
0
0
2

McIntosh YDC closes from May to October. The Bridge Institute closes in May. Emanuel and Pelham YDCs swap gender roles in December.

  • Augusta YDC
  • Gainesville RYDC
  • Lighthouse Care Center
  • Macon Behavioral Health
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,123
  • YDC Capacity: 1,801
2
0
0
3

Macon Behavioral Health opens in February. Lighthouse Care Center opens in March. Augusta YDC privatized in July. Gainesville RYDC replaced with a new 64 bed facility.

DJJ Education services are found compliant and released from monitoring and the MOA in October.

  • Augusta RYDC
  • Augusta YDC
  • Crisp YDC
  • Emanuel YDC
  • Macon RYDC
  • Metro YDC
  • Pelham YDC
  • Rome RYDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,215
  • YDC Capacity: 1,323
2
0
0
4

Crisp YDC opens in January. Augusta, Macon and Rome RYDCs replaced with new 64-bed facilities. Augusta YDC closed in February. Pelham closed in March. Emanuel closed in April. Metro YDC is created within Metro RYDC to house youth from Augusta YDC.

Augusta YDC re-opens under state operation in November providing special needs in the area of behavioral health. 

  • Athens RYDC
  • Augusta YDC
  • Crisp RYDC
  • Columbus RYDC
  • Cohn RYDC
  • Emanuel YDC
  • Metro YDC
  • Muscogee YDC
  • Lighthouse IIP STP
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,223
  • YDC Capacity: 1,407
2
0
0
5

Athens RYDC closed. Augusta YDC reopened and Metro YDC closed. Columbus 30 bed facility closed and Cohn RYDC a 64 bed facility opened in Muscogee County. Muscogee YDC opened and Lighthouse closed as an STP.

The DJJ Quality Assurance and Investigations functions are found compliant and released from monitoring and the MOA in January.
 
The Department of Juvenile Justice schools are accredited by the South Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). 
 
Senate Bill 134 becomes law, which changed the law pertaining to the former 90-day boot camp program and what is now referred to as the Short-Term Program (STP).  Changes include reducing the maximum sentence from 90-days to 60-days and requiring credit for time served in an RYDC while the youth is awaiting placement in a YDC.
 
The new Aaron Cohn RYDC opens in March as a 64-bed facility accommodating pre-adjudicated youth from Columbus and surrounding areas.  The new facility is named after Muscogee County Chief Juvenile Court Judge Aaron Cohn, the country’s longest sitting juvenile court judge.
 
The Muscogee YDC opens in March.  The campus utilizes a “cottage” culture housing low risk youth with long term sentences.  The capacity for the facility is 60-72 beds. 
 
House Resolution 48 becomes law changing the Clayton RYDC to the Martha K. Glaze RYDC in honor of the former longtime juvenile court judge.

  • Crisp YDC
  • Crisp RYDC
  • Muscogee YDC
  • Eastman YDC
  • RYDC Capacity: 1,287
  • YDC Capacity: 1,320
2
0
0
6

Crisp YDC closed and reopened as an RYDC. Muscogee YDC cuts its capacity from 64 to 60. Eastman YDC cuts its capacity from 349 to 330.

The Crisp YDC is converted to the Crisp RYDC, a 64-bed detention facility.  
 
House Bill 1145 becomes law and provides the court with guidance on treatment options for incompetent youth instead of incarceration.  This law change sets forth criteria for administering competency evaluations for youth and ensures that youth who are determined to be mentally incompetent will be placed in an appropriate residential treatment facility. 
 
Senate Bill 135 becomes law and allows for a speedy trial moving youth through the system.  This law requires that a youth charged in superior court must have his/her case presented to a grand jury within 180 days.

Senate Bill 136 becomes law and provides bail options for youth.  Parents and certain relatives can exercise bail options at discretion of the judge and prosecutor.

  • RYDC Capacity: 1,287
  • YDC Capacity: 1,320
2
0
0
7

DJJ establishes Victim Advocate position to assist victims of juvenile crime marking the first time the agency has employed a full-time position to assist victims of juvenile crime.
 
House Bill 153 becomes law with an amendment clarifying a section of the law to ensure that any youth who has issues relating to deprivation, must also have a delinquent act in order to be committed to DJJ. 
 
House Resolution 21 is adopted renaming the Dalton RYDC the Elbert Shaw Jr. RYDC in honor of Shaw for three decades of volunteer services to youth at the facility. 
 
The new $1.3 million vocational building is opened on the Augusta YDC campus in November.

  • RYDC Capacity: 1,287
  • YDC Capacity: 1,320
2
0
0
8

DJJ and DOJ agree to a revised memorandum of agreement (MOA) calling for final facility inspections to verify remaining issues of compliance which include: Protection from Harm, Medical and Mental Health services. Six facilities are agreed upon where the final inspections will occur. Four of the six are chosen at random.
 
Independent monitors conduct final facility inspections at Elbert Shaw RYDC, Macon RYDC, Blakely RYDC, Albany RYDC, Macon YDC and Sumter YDC. The inspections occur from September through December. 

  • RYDC Capacity: 1,287
  • YDC Capacity: 1,260
2
0
0
9

The final Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) inspection report is issued finding DJJ in substantial compliance with the revised MOA praising areas of DJJ programming and services.
 
The United States Department of Justice and DJJ jointly file for dismissal of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The case officially ends in May.
 
The 60 bed privately run McIntosh YDC is closed.
 
The Bill E. Ireland YDC is closed in December. Ireland was the oldest youth correctional facility in the state and had 300 beds.
 
A 24-bed unit at the Macon YDC, the agency’s only long-term facility for females, is closed.
 
The Savannah River Challenge Program is converted from a STP facility to a youth transition program with the goal of assisting youths being released by the department.
 
House Bill 245 is adopted and changes the STP from 60 days to 30 days. The bill came with a sunset provision that takes effect on June 30, 2011, after which the 60 day STP returns.



Historical Tables and Charts:
(All tables and charts require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.)
      RYDC Capacities
      RYDC Capacities by Gender
      YDC Capacities
      YDC Capacities by Population Type
 
This page was last modified on
   
 

   Quick Links
PARENTS/GUARDIANS
Why parents are important
What is an RYDC and YDC
FAQ
Visitor Information
Submit a TIP
 PARENT RESOURCES
VICTIMS
About Victim Services
Victim Notification and Services
Forms and Publications
Help Us To Improve
 VICTIMS RESOURCES
ABOUT US
Overview
How DJJ is Organized
About the Commissioner
About the Board
 MORE ABOUT US



Click here to view Safe Sleep Program Infant Safety details.  


 

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay current with the latest DJJ news and announcements.

 
 

HOME   |   FACILITIES/PROGRAMS  |   RESOURCE LIBRARY  |   CAREERS  |   VICTIMS  |   ABOUT US  |   EMPLOYEES  |   NEWS AND VIEWS  |   PARENTS & GUARDIANS  |   CONTACT US    
 
3408 Covington Highway - Decatur, GA - 30032
(click here for Directions)
Phone: 404-508-6500 / Fax: 404-508-7289
Copyright © . All rights reserved by Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. (WF14F)
DJJ DJJ RSS DJJ Facebook DJJ Twitter DJJ Youtube Click here to open 'Team Georgia website'.