Juvenile Detention – First Home In Pima County

From 1929 to 1952 Clara S. Higgins was in charge of juvenile detention in Pima County. She began taking youngsters into her home at 332. E. Fourth Street in about 1914. Her husband Patrick L. Higgins was a probation officer, so the couple began to take in children who were legally separated from their parents.

Clara S. Higgins signed a contract with Pima County for an organized juvenile detention at her home in December 1929. Mrs. Higgins worked with children until 1952. In 1956 Pima County established its first formal juvenile detention center at 332 S. Freeway. This facility was named in honor of Clara S. Higgins. For many years the young people in Tucson called juvenile detention going to “Mother Higgins.”


“Her calling was kids: Dreaded ‘Mother Higgins’ name for her.” Tucson Citizen. October 11, 2004 Page A8.

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