PbS Perspective: Decreasing Isolation and Positive Family Results

Posted by Lisa Martinek
January 13, 2015

As PbS reflects on the past 20 years, we realize that looking at data is the first, fundamental step to positive change and reform and are eager to share what we have learned. Twice a year juvenile justice facilities participating in Performance-based Standards (PbS) collect qualitative and quantitative data in a wide range of facility operations including safety, order, security, education, programming, fairness, positive youth development, connection to family and community and health and behavioral health.

PbS Perspective January 2015 is the first in a series of publications that offers a snapshot of the conditions of confinement and quality of life in secure facilities. This Perspective offers aggregate data from October 2014 in important areas of juvenile justice. Even though the data presented in the Perspective shows you just a small portion of everything we collect, the information paints an informative picture of facility life and gives you an idea about priorities and the current state of juvenile facilities.

Reducing isolation has been a priority for PbS; research shows that the use of isolation impacts the safety and security of youths and can lead to higher rates of suicide. The focus has paid off; since October 2010 the average duration of isolation has decreased for correction, detention and assessment facilities. This is a true testament to how our participants use their data to make tremendous improvements in their facility!

More recently, PbS began focusing on family, launching the Family-Youth Initiative in 2012 to help our participants strengthen connections between staff, youths and families. The October 2014 collection marked the first time the family survey was available to all correction facilities to distribute to youths’ family members and the results are positive. Most family members feel respected and valued and staff help family members stay in contact with their child.

These are only a few of the highlights from the PbS Perspective. To learn more about trauma, education, staff training and support data, read the PbS Perspective or our issue briefs, which delve more into specific topics such as isolation and trauma-informed care.