Welcome staff were invited to tour the Pinal County Youth Justice Center to show what life is like for a juvenile in care. The tour provides pictures and information to learn more about the facility and its programming. If you are a visitor, enter through the front glass doors and proceed to the front desk. Youth who will stay at the facility are brought to the side driveway entrance.

The Pinal County Youth Justice Center is in Florence, Arizona. This facility houses juveniles from Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, and Santa Cruz Counties. The facility can hold between 40 to 45 youth and the average stay is between 3-4 weeks. The Pinal County Youth Justice Center is the temporary placement of a youth accused of a delinquent act, while awaiting the outcome of his or her case in court. The purpose of Youth Justice Center is to house youth who, by virtue of their alleged offenses or documented prior histories, pose a serious public safety or flight risk.

The Youth Justice Center is only used, when NECESSARY, for those youth that:

  • Pose community safety issues if released until their appointed court date.
  • May fail to show up for their appointed court date.
  • May re-offend or get re-arrested if released before their appointed court date.
  • Do not have a place to go while waiting for their court date.

*The content in this tour was reviewed and approved by Pinal County Justice Center staff in June 2023. Any updates or changes to the facility after this date may not be captured in this narrative/virtual tour. Please call the facility directly for any updates or clarifications.


All pods have the same general design of a main area with desks, television, showers, and eating area. There are 4-8 youth assigned to each pod. Also included in the pods are single person rooms. The rooms consist of one bed, a sink, toilet, and metal mirror. Youth are only allowed in their rooms to sleep and complete their morning hygiene.

Meals are eaten with their assigned pod in the central living area within that pod. Food is prepared and brought to the facility. In each pod, a meal schedule is available for review. The youth at the Center are provided with 3 meals a day and a snack.


Once inside, the juveniles are released from police custody into the care of the Youth Justice Center. After the juvenile’s release to the Center, the staff are responsible for their health and safety and the youth are expected to follow the rules.

Youth are screened using the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Second Version (MAYSI-2). A 52 yes/no questionnaire is asked to screen for potential issues with alcohol, drugs, somatic complaints, sexual abuse, and overall mental health.

All personal property is removed, except for eyeglasses. Items are cataloged and then stored in identified boxes in a locked holding area. The youth is then given a medical check, the use of a private shower, and provided food if they have not eaten recently. Once they have been processed into the facility, they are given the chance to call a legal guardian.

Programs and Reward Recreation Room

Juveniles that have earned extra privileges are offered time in this recreation room. In this room youth can enjoy movies, games, and popcorn to reward good behavior. This can also house programs and presentations from outside groups working with the youth.

Reverse Airflow Room

Within the intake center are two specific areas that are not often used, but available if necessary. One is a single medical room that is provided and referred to as a “reverse airflow room”. This is only used if there appears to be a mental health risk or COVID or TB (rarely seen). Within this medical holding area, there are both showers and medical treatment space within the cell.