Students Tour Correctional Facility

Southwestern Christian University students enrolled in the Juvenile Delinquency course had an opportunity to expand their education beyond the traditional classroom earlier this month.

Students got a first-hand look at how the police, courts and corrections work in the state with a tour of the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center. The class is taught by SCU Professor Jeremy Wente, MSW, LSCW.

During the visit students were able to learn from juvenile probation officers about their job duties, the structure of the juvenile system, and the challenges of their work. Students also learned about the daily routine of the facility, security measures and services that those receive while they are placed in the facility.

Wente said the tour’s purpose was for students to integrate experimental learning into the course. Students are encouraged to identify how psychological and sociological theories regarding delinquency are observed in the current juvenile system in Oklahoma. Prevention, intervention and treatment models are also evaluated for their individual strengths and weaknesses.

The Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center is an 80-bed maximum security facility that houses youth from ages seven to 17. The facility is licensed by the Office of Juvenile Affairs and is subject to the rules and regulations established by that state agency.

Ronnie Ward, the facility administrator, said residents of this facility have all committed serious violations of the law and are placed in custody for the safety of the community and themselves. Their facility time is viewed as an opportunity to learn, reflect and change their behavior. “It is our goal to release back to the community an individual who can resume a productive and healthy lifestyle, and who will stay out of further contact with the Juvenile Justice System.”

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