Fairbanks Youth Facility

View of Fairbanks Youth Facility entrance from driveway. 

FYF Combined Units

As with many organizations in recent months, the Fairbanks Youth Facility has experienced unprecedented staff shortages. To promote the safety and security of youth and officers, the facility has combined the Detention and Treatment Units. The combination is necessary to maintain the staff-to-youth ratio per Alaska Statutes and Performance-based-Standards (PbS). DJJ reduced the treatment capacity from 16 to 4 youth, and the detention capacity remains unchanged at 12 youth. Despite the detention and treatment youth sharing a space, the core treatment groups remain separate while all other activities are combined.

The division currently prioritizes recruitment and retention and hopes to safely separate treatment and detention as soon as possible.

FYF Overview

The Fairbanks Youth Facility is the second largest of Alaska's juvenile correctional facilities, with a design capacity for 12 residents in short-term detention and 15 in long-term treatment. Until recently, FYF has operated at roughly 65% capacity, allowing us to build vocational and transitional services more effectively. Our partnerships with the Fairbanks School District and the Community and Technical College at UAF have allowed us to provide classes in culinary arts, small-engine repair, First Aid/CPR, and the Construction Academy. Our residents continue to work towards educational achievement before release, either in the form of a high school diploma or a general equivalency degree.

There has been a concerted and continued focus on community partnerships over the past fifteen years. Volunteer organizations have allowed us to expand our network of resources as we strive to prepare our residents for success after release. These organizations include 4H, Fairbanks Food Bank, Big Brother Big Sisters, Tanana Chiefs Conference, the Workforce Initiative and Opportunity Act program, and others. We recognize that we must continue to reach out beyond the facility and establish meaningful partnerships to assist residents in achieving sustained success.

During the summer, we have a garden project with crops cultivated and harvested by our Treatment Unit residents and staff. The facility's culinary arts program uses food from the garden and donates unused produce to the Fairbanks Food Bank and Stone Soup. This project is only possible with the assistance of 4H. The Treatment Program also strives to teach youth how to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Our staff recently developed an incentive program to engage kids in the Presidential Physical Fitness program.

Physical improvements remain at the top of the priority list for the Fairbanks Youth Facility. We are planning a facility remodel to bring a more therapeutic physical environment to FYF because youth benefit from it. Staff does their best to overcome the institutional environment's limitations by providing residents with meaningful, evidence-based programming while building strong, healthy, strength-based relationships with them.