Central Juvenile Hall

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Central Juvenile Hall
Location Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles
Status Operational
Opened 1921
Managed by Los Angeles County Probation Department

Central Juvenile Hall (also known as Eastlake Juvenile Hall or Central) is a youth detention center in Los Angeles County. Central houses both boys and girls.[1] The Central Juvenile Hall complex was originally established in 1912 as the first juvenile detention facility in Los Angeles County.[2] The hall sits on twenty-two and one-half acres of land in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. The facility has 24 buildings including living units, two infirmaries, two school buildings, two gyms, kitchen facilities, a chapel, and mechanical areas.[2]


In 2014, the Los County Grand Jury criticized the conditions of the hall, and proposed that it be torn down.[3] Into 2016, juvenile justice reform advocates pushed a proposal that would split the Los Angeles County Probation Department in two parts, one for overseeing juveniles and one for adults.[4]

One former Central ward wrote about his experience in solitary confinement in 1962.[5] Into the 2000s, former inmates recalled being placed in solitary confinement at Central.[6]


In 1997, Sister Janet Harris, then Catholic Chaplain at Central, cofounded InsideOUT Writers (IOW).[7] The organization uses creative writing to encourage personal growth and transformation within the California juvenile justice system and still teaches writing workshops inside Central.[8] Mark Salzman taught for IOW at Central, and wrote a book about his experience.[9] In 2011, IOW teamed with the Los Angeles Opera to perform stories written by incarcerated youths at Central.[10]

In 2012, rap artist RZA spoke to teen fathers at Central.[11] UpRising Yoga has held yoga classes for boys and girls incarcerated at Central.[12]

In 2016, Center for the Empowerment of Families (CEF)[13] Executive Director, Renee Curry, introduced the first Therapeutic Ballet-Mentorship program. The Dance for Healing Project [14] was developed by Renee and Jamie Hammond-Carbetta, Pony Box Theatre's Choreographer. A dance program model the two first created in 2014, it includes all genres of dance for incarcerated girls and boys identified as impacted by trauma experiences. Namely youth previously affected by sex trafficking, domestic violence, neglect & caregiver substance abuse. The program includes coping skills continuance monitoring and mentorship upon release. CEF Mentors Cambreisha Montgomery, Akwi Devine & CEF's Board Member Roz Freeman, are also responsible for the innovation and functionality of this mentorship program. Mentors and the dance instructors are survivors, yet many hold Masters in Public Health, Masters in Counseling Psychology; or Fine Arts degrees in Dance.

CEF is 10 year nonprofit provider for therapeutic programming at LA County Probation facilities, and it is also responsible for RZA's visit to Juvenile Hall through its Fatherhood program developed by Dr. Sharon Jacques-Rabb.

Notable juvenile inmates[edit]


  1. ^ Fritz, Mike (2015-03-17). "Photo essay: Life inside a juvenile detention center for girls". PBS Newshour. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b "1999 Los Angeles County Grand Jury Report". Los Angeles County Grand Jury. Archived from the original on 14 January 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  3. ^ Sewell, Abby. "Future of L.A. County's main juvenile hall is uncertain". LA Times. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  4. ^ Sewell, Abby. "Should L.A.'s probation agency be split between youths and adults?". LA Times. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  5. ^ Alan (2010-02-12). "In Solitary at LA's Juvenile Hall, circa 1962". Solitary Watch. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  6. ^ Green, Marcus. "In two dozen states, juvenile offenders can be put in solitary. Advocates want to change that". pri.org. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Sister Janet Harris". Loyola Law School. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ Archer, Christine (2014-08-06). "California Teacher Uses Writing to Inspire Incarcerated Youth". JJIE. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  9. ^ McCollam, Douglas (2003-11-30). "Rough Drafts". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  10. ^ Molvi, Fareeha (2011-11-11). "LA Opera performs stories by incarcerated youth at juvenile hall". 89.3 KPCC. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  11. ^ Romero, Dennis (2012-06-14). "RZA OF WU-TANG CLAN TO TEACH TEENS IN JUVENILE HALL HOW TO BE BETTER FATHERS". LA Weekly. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  12. ^ Schware, Rob (2016-01-14). "Yoga: How We Serve Incarcerated Youth". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Center for the Empowerment of Famiies, Inc". Center for the Empowerment of Famiies, Inc.
  14. ^ "The Dance for Healing Project". The Dance for Healing Project.
  15. ^ Warren, Jenifer (2005-12-13). "Tookie Williams Is Executed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 March 2016.

Coordinates: 34°03′51″N 118°12′26″W / 34.0641°N 118.2072°W / 34.0641; -118.2072