Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall Named Finalist for the 2017 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Posted by Patricia Rafferty
August 28, 2017

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is pleased to announce Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall as one of the finalists for the 2017 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the detention category. The facility was selected as a finalist for addressing policies on room confinement prior to upcoming changes in state legislation.

California Senate Bill 1143, which was signed in 2016 and takes effect in January 2018, limits the use of room confinement in juvenile facilities. The facility team knew the challenge ahead and got started on making the change right away using the Facility Improvement Plan (FIP) process. Designed with a goal to end all room confinement events in eight hours or less, the team laid out a plan and included staff of varied levels to ensure different perspectives would be considered.

A focus group of staff was recruited to discuss the bill and develop strategies for culture change. They reviewed the bill together then broke into two sub-groups, one to discuss policies and consistent room confinement guidelines and the other to consider increased incentives for positive behavior. Staff found creative solutions to room confinement, including counseling and redirecting poor behavior, and implemented incentive-based programming.

The incentive-based Behavior Modification Program has been successful and encourages staff to continually share innovative ideas. Staff plan more group activities such as bingo, games, arts and crafts and other activities in their units and part of the facility was converted to a game room. Points earned throughout the week can be used for time in the game room to play arcade games or for the Saturday Program for a food reward of pizza or ice cream.

Including staff from the beginning of the transition provided a strong foundation with a vested interest for the culture change. Recent data showing reduced confinement times does not show any increase in critical incidents since the start of the process, a concern of many staff when the new legislation was announced. The team plans to continue closely monitoring incidents and data to gauge effectiveness, ensure sustainability and show staff how the work is paying off.

The PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara Allen-Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Her dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. The award is given to a correction, detention/assessment and community program who best exemplify PbS’ commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans to change practices that results in positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

Winners of the award will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 26, 2017. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

Stanislaus-staffFacility staff of Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall

Stanislaus-schoolYouths and staff in math class