Detention Ministry


“When I was in prison, you visited Me…” –Matthew 25:36

The St. Therese Detention Ministry is a “ministry of presence,” wherein the volunteers participate at Mass with the incarcerated youth (ages 8 to 18) and visit them at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles. Catholic volunteers bring a message of a loving God, a God of unconditional love, a God who understands and forgives.  The volunteer, like Jesus, conveys dignity, respect, and love.  You’ll bring Christ to the incarcerated youth; they’ll bring Christ to you!

On Sunday mornings, volunteers, incarcerated youth, and officers all attend Mass together, followed by the Catholic Chaplain’s brief announcements, visits to the youth in the housing units, and fellowship and refreshments for volunteers.   The time commitment for this ministry is up to the individual.  Volunters can visit from as little as once a month for three hours to as much as eight times a month.

JOIN US IN VISITING THE INCARCERATED YOUTH!  Detention Ministry is under the supervision of the Office of Restorative Justice of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  The Juvenile Hall Catholic Chaplain trains and leads the volunteers from St. Therese and various other parishes.

To get started, download and fill out the application form (Facility Visit Agreement and Civil Claims Release) by clicking here X. Fill it out and ATTACH to it a legible copy of either your ~state-issued ID, your  ~California Driver’s License, or your ~passport. Then mail to: Central Juvenile Hall, Attention: Catholic Chaplain, 1605 Eastlake Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (it must be returned by the 15th day of the month before the month that you plan to make your initial first-Sunday-of-the-month visit).  You must ATTACH a legible copy of either your 1) state-issued ID, or your 2) California Driver’s License, or your 3) passport. 

Instructions for new volunteers for their first-time visit:

  • Arrive by 7:30 a.m. to Central Juvenile Hall-Eastlake (CJH), 1605 Eastlake Ave., Los Angeles, CA  90033 (CJH is located in back of the juvenile court building; park in the front parking lot or the parking structure).
  • Proceed to the CJH security window and show your driver license. A current volunteer will greet you and escort you to the CJH Chapel.
  • Attend the 8:00 a.m. Mass in the CJH Chapel with incarcerated youth and volunteers.

After the Mass, the following will take place:

  • 9:00 a.m.:  The Chaplain will make some brief announcements and will pair you with a regular volunteer.
  • 9:15 a.m.:   Volunteers visit incarcerated youth in their housing units.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Orientation for new volunteers

Important: You must bring your driver’s license and nothing else.  You are only allowed to bring your driver’s license and one key to CJH, nothing else. Shoes must be closed, flat shoes (no open-toed shoes, no heels higher than two inches, no hats/caps, no sunglasses).

For more information, please call Sonia Macias at (323) 724-6443.

You will love this ministry of love and compassion!