The Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center (MJTC) is a secure mental health treatment facility. It opened in 1995 to serve boys who do not respond to the rehabilitation services provided at Wisconsin’s youth correctional institution. There is space to serve 29 patients.
A focus on hope, health, and healing
Most youth correctional institutions use a sanctions-based approach. Youth dealing with trauma typically don't respond well in such an environment.
The premise of the MJTC approach is that treatment should do more than just provide youth with challenging behaviors and serious mental health issues with needed skills. It should also address the youth's resistance and opposition to conventional behaviors and lifestyles. The MJTC approach uses intensive therapy to decompress the cycle in which punishment for bad behavior inspires more bad behavior, which is in turn punished. Patients receive care, encouragement, treatment, and education, which with the gradual development of trust, brings about more acceptable choices and personal esteem and autonomy. Over time, they act out less frequently and become more available for participation in further rehabilitative services. These services include individual and group activities and classes focused on assisting patients with accepting responsibility for their actions, teaching social and problem-solving skills, resolving mental health issues, and building healthy relationships. The goal is to help patients successfully reintegrate into their communities.
Several research studies show young people treated at MJTC committed significantly fewer crimes after being released when compared to similar youth who did not have access to MJTC.
Building a statewide resource
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in March 2022 to mark the start of construction for the $65.9 million expansion and renovation of MJTC.
Once fully operational in early 2025, the new MJTC campus will provide greater opportunities for boys—and for the first time girls—at the deepest end of the youth justice system to receive the mental health treatment they need to thrive.
At 102,000 square feet, the expanded building will be four times the size of the original campus. Constructed by Findorff and designed by BWBR, the larger building will be able to house 93 patients: 73 boys and 20 girls. Patients will be placed on one of nine units based on their security needs and responsiveness to the treatment program. There will be state-of-the-art spaces for education, medical, and therapeutic services.
MJTC will remain open during the construction project. A two-story addition to the existing facility with new patient bedrooms and program spaces will be built first. Patients will move to the new space while the existing facility is renovated. New administration and visitation areas will be built last.
Increasing the capacity of MJTC is one part of an overhaul to Wisconsin’s youth justice system that includes the closure of Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls in Irma when replacement facilities are built.
As of January 2023, this project remains on schedule and on budget.
The video below features highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony for this project.
Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center
301 Troy Drive
Madison, WI 53704