Juvenile justice programs require certain adaptations of Sanctuary to use the model effectively. Perhaps the most important first step is changing the mindset typical of criminal justice systems that looks at incarceration as detention and punishment to one of healing and repair of relationships. Most incarcerated youth are statistically likely to have experienced trauma, and therefore need the kind of environment that Sanctuary provides. Because these are typically impressionable adolescent youth who have broken the law or who have potentially harmed others, it is especially important to focus on the tools of Sanctuary that instill a sense of social responsibility, build relational skills through safe and healthy relationships with staff and peers and prevent recidivism with a constant reinforcement of a vision for a better future.
Special adaptations may need to be made to the practice of Sanctuary in this setting to align with state and federal mandates about transporting and supervising youth in these facilities. Despite more restrictive rules and environments, it is possible to create trauma-sensitive care for youth in these settings. It is equally important to create continuity in services for these youth when they leave facilities. Community based parole or multi-service programs that support these youth when they leave incarceration and reintegrate into their home communities have the unique opportunity to extend the experience of Sanctuary past the period of time served and into the family and community lives of the youth they serve.