What is the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center?
The Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center – which is formally known as the Lynn W. Ross Juvenile Detention Center – is a 24-hour secure facility used to temporarily detain juveniles (youth under age 17) who have been accused of violating the law.
It is intended for short-term confinement, primarily after a youth has been taken into custody, but before a court has determined their guilt or innocence.
“Kimbo” in Tarrant County
The Tarrant County Juvenile Detention center is commonly referred to as “Kimbo,” so-called for the name of the road on which it is located – 2701 Kimbo Road. The detention center is equipped to house 120 juveniles at a time, according to an August 2022 report for the Tarrant County Commissioners.
When a youth in Tarrant County is taken into custody and detained, he or she will be housed in the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center. This can be a very nerve-wracking experience for both the youth and their parents, especially if this is the first time the juvenile has been in trouble with the law.
This blog post will help you understand how the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center operates and what you should expect if your child is in juvenile custody.
Why Was My Child Taken to the Juvenile Detention Center?
Typically, a child is transported to the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center by police officers after being taken into custody. Police usually bring the child to the detention center for one of three reasons:
- A parent can’t be located;
- The child might be in danger;
- The child could be endangering others.
Once the juvenile arrives at the facility, they will be searched. An intake officer at the detention center will then review the police report to determine whether there is proper authorization to temporarily detain the child.
The intake officer will then notify the parents that their child is at the detention facility. Depending on the law violation and other facts and circumstances, you may be notified that your child can be released to you or that they are being held/detained for a detention hearing before the judge.
Why Is My Child Being Detained?
As mentioned, juveniles are often released to a parent or guardian after being taken into custody. However, there are specific instances when detention is warranted – prior to a court hearing. According to Section 53.02b of the Texas Family Code, a child who is taken into custody may be detained only if:
- The child is likely to abscond (i.e. runaway) or be removed from the jurisdiction of the court;
- Suitable supervision, care, or protection of the child is not being provided by a parent, guardian or another person;
- The child doesn’t have anyone to return the child to court when required;
- The child may be dangerous to himself or herself or may be a threat to the safety of the public if released;
- The child has previously been found to be delinquent or has previously been convicted of a penal offense punishable by jail or prison and is likely to commit an offense if released; or
- A firearm was involved.
If overnight detention is required, a detention hearing will be scheduled no later than the second business day unless the child is brought in on Friday or Saturday in which case the hearing will be the next business day. Hearings are held at 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
During this hearing, a juvenile court judge will determine if the child should stay in detention or can be released to a parent, guardian, or another suitable adult while the case is pending. The child will not be released if a parent or guardian is not present.
What Happens After My Child is Detained?
After a decision is made to admit a child to the Tarrant County Detention Center, a juvenile detention officer will go over the rules of the center with your child. The child will then take a shower and change into a detention uniform.
Each child entering the detention center will receive a mental health evaluation to help identify potential emotional or mental health concerns and a basic health care screening through an on-site medical clinic. The medical clinic is staffed with a registered nurse and psychologist.
During their stay, the juvenile will receive educational, medical, counseling, and physical education services and recreation.
Where Will My Child Sleep in Tarrant County Juvenile Detention? What about Meals?
All juveniles sleep in an individual room, where they are visually monitored intermittently for safety reasons. Meals are served three times a day in a group setting.
What about School?
Your child will attend school while in the Tarrant County Detention Center. Teachers with the Fort Worth Independent School District teach core academic subjects to keep the juvenile on track so he or she doesn’t fall behind in school. If the student’s regular teachers provide the assignments, your child will work on those assignments during class at the detention center. The student’s assignments and grades will be forwarded to their home school upon their release from detention.
What if My Child Takes Medicine?
If your child takes prescribed medication or has medical issues, it’s essential to inform the nurse on staff. Be prepared to provide the medication to the nurse.
Can I Visit my Child in Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center?
Juveniles whose last name begins with the letters A-L can have a daily visit with an immediate family member on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Juveniles whose last name begins with the letters M-Z can have a daily visit with an immediate family member on Fridays and Sundays.
Juveniles also get a daily 5-minute call with a parent or guardian. Visitors are expected to schedule their visits with detention center officials by calling 817-838-4610.
How Do I Get to the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center?
The Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center is located north of downtown Fort Worth at 2701 Kimbo Road. To drive to the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center, exit NE 28th Street off of I-35 and head east. Turn left (north) on N. Sylvania Ave. You’ll then turn right (east) on Kimbo Road. The detention center will be on your left.
How Long Will My Child Be in Detention?
After a youth is taken into custody, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office has 30 days to file a petition for capital murder, an aggravated controlled substance felony, or a first-degree felony. The DA’s Office has 15 days to file a petition for all other offenses. In the adult system, this is the equivalent to being “charged.” If the DA’s Office doesn’t file a petition in 15 or 30 days, the juvenile has to be released from detention.
After the initial detention hearing in front of the judge, all subsequent detention hearings are held every 10 working days, during which time the judge will decide to release the juvenile or continue to hold them.
Who is Lynn W. Ross?
The official title of Tarrant County’s juvenile detention center is the “Lynn W. Ross Juvenile Detention Center.” It is named for Lynn W. Ross, who was appointed the chief probation officer of the Tarrant County Juvenile Probation Department in 1947. Ross was an innovator in the field of juvenile social work, which was then in its infancy. He earned his master’s in social work from the University of Chicago.
Ross had a staff of five caseworkers, including the first black caseworker whom he hired in 1948. Ross retired in 1977 after 30 years of service. A new juvenile detention center was built in his name.
Can I Write to My Child in the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center?
Juveniles can send and receive mail from family and friends. A return address should be listed. Publications can be received in the detention center as long as they are sent directly from the publisher.
Additionally, detained juveniles are allowed to receive emails through www.SecurusTech.net. Money can also be deposited into accounts through this website or by depositing funds at a kiosk in the detention center lobby so they can purchase snacks, stamps, candy, and haircuts. For more information or questions, call 817-838-4610.
What is Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center’s Mailing Address?
Juvenile’s Name, ID number
Lynn W. Ross Juvenile Detention Center
2701 Kimbo Road, Ft Worth, TX, 76111
Is Your Child in Tarrant County Juvenile Detention?
If your child has been taken into custody and is being detained at the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center, your next call needs to be to an experienced juvenile defense attorney. Lisa Herrick is one of only three attorneys in Tarrant County who are Board Certified in Juvenile Law. She has handled every type of juvenile case, ranging from theft to capital murder. She understands the unique challenges of juvenile cases and will fight to protect your child. Call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with Lisa today.