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Gilliam Youth Services Center

Juvenile Justice Ministry


Tim Butler



Gilliam Youth Services Center (GYSC) opened in April of 1903 and is the oldest state operated detention center in Colorado. It is located at 2844 Downing Street, and can serve up to sixty-four youth, both male and female, from the city and county of Denver.   However, because of recent changes at the state level, the facility is limited to a daily population level of 35 youths, and roughly 850 young people will be processed each year.  Youths aged 10 – 17 can be placed here and are housed in different units based on a number of factors including age, gang affiliation, gender, and the nature of their alleged crime(s).

Youths who are detained at the facility remain there until a decision is made by the courts regarding the nature of any alleged criminal act the youth may have committed, and the appropriate consequences.  Typically, this process is completed within 3 – 4 weeks, but some youths have been confined for much longer periods of time when their charges require it.

All youths confined at the facility have access to several services and programs including education, basic medical care, legal services, mental health, physical exercise, and spiritual support.  Families are encouraged to visit whenever possible, but these visits may be limited, based on a youth’s behavior while at the facility.

Denver Area Youth For Christ has provided religious services, Bible studies, and pastoral care to the youths on a voluntary basis since the late 1960’s.  And for most of those years, their Chaplains have provided oversight, supervision, and training to a variety of churches and individuals who have faithfully ministered at the facility.

Learn more about Juvenile Justice Ministries at