Richard Dama, LPC, NCC, CCJTS


6414 Deans Hill Road
Berrien Center, MI 49102

Phone:  (269) 471-2831
Email:  Richard Dama

Master Control Room
Phone: (269) 471-2831 ext. 4230

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The Berrien County Juvenile Center (BCJC) is a branch of and operated by the Family Division of the Berrien County Trial Court.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Berrien County Juvenile Center is to have a significant, positive and corrective impact upon the youth in our care.  In so doing, we contribute to the Court’s efforts to serve and protect the public by providing temporary care and custody, crisis intervention and other helpful services to pre-adjudicated and post-adjudicated youth, with a sensitivity to the special needs of these individuals and their families.

Operational Goals

  • Create and maintain a safe, secure, and therapeutic environment which addresses the identified needs of the youth and staff and families.
  • Provide helpful services for youth and families which will enhance self-esteem, promote self-discipline, ensure physical well-being, and encourage social development and build resident skills and competencies.
  • Maintain, ensure, and protect the constitutional, personal, and legal rights of the youth under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Center while holding them accountable for fulfilling program expectations and responsibilities.
  • Recruit, select, retain, and promote only the best educated, most dedicated, and highest quality experienced professionals to serve in the organization.
  • Inform and educate the community about Juvenile Center services by implementing an active public information plan.
  • Design, implement, and monitor an ongoing evaluation system which will accurately assess goal achievement and program effectiveness.

BCJC Overview

The BCJC has a total capacity of 42 beds divided between Secure Detention, Alternative Detention and the Residential Treatment and Family Services Program. Currently the BCJC employs 50 staff (includes Administration, Youth Specialists, Mental Health Professionals, Maintenance, Food Service, etc.,) with the majority of that workforce being Youth Specialists.  The BCJC undergoes yearly inspections by the State of Michigan Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing as well as by a State-Authorized Fire Inspector.


Daily recreation, daily group counseling, individual counseling as needed, and a fully accredited school program taught by Special Education Certified teachers from the Berrien County Regional Education Agency.

Our programming now includes Rational Behavior Training (RBT) for the youth we serve.  RBT is a Cognitive Behavioral program with a focus on making youth aware of their thoughts and actions.  The implementation of RBT into the facility has resulted in many positive gains and overall success.  In fact, in 2008, the Berrien County Juvenile Center received the National Juvenile Detention Association’s “Award of Excellence” as the “Premier Juvenile Detention Program in the Country.”

Rational Behavior Training (RBT)

Rational Behavior Training consists of different focused study groups which are facilitated by the Youth Specialist staff.  RBT consists of:

Anger is My Friend – a look at understanding the emotion of anger and ways to handle it safely.

Restorative Justice – Understanding how our actions affect others and how to restore relationships in family, school and more.

Moral Decision Making – Learning the different levels of moral behavior in positive, goal-oriented decision making,

Risk Management – Understanding the temptations and hazards in risk-taking.

RBT 1-  Introduction to the concepts of Rational Behavior Training. Understanding core beliefs and behaviors with tools to assist in decision making.

RBT 2 – Advanced application of concepts in RBT 1. Residents learn to explore their thinking using Rational Self Analysis (RSA).

8 Basic Social Skills – The social basics to teach youth the most appropriate way to interact with others.

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Berrien County Courthouse
811 Port Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Berrien County Administration Center
701 Main Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
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Last Updated 4/22/2016   
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General Telephone: (269) 983-7111
From Niles, Buchanan, Galien: (269) 684-5274
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