2015 Finalist Spotlight: Muskegon River Youth Center

Posted by Lisa Martinek
July 01, 2015

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is pleased to announce Muskegon River Youth Center in Ladoga, IN as one of the finalists for the 2015 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the detention/assessment category. The program was selected as a finalist for their improvement plan on decreasing the amount of time youths spent in isolation.

The team at Muskegon noticed a large difference between their amount of isolation and the amount the field was using. After reviewing their average daily population and number of staff, they realized they did not need to use isolation so often. The team reviewed all incidents and determined a number of areas for improvements including verbal interventions, offering locations for youths to retreat, staff training and reassessing youths every 15 minutes once they are in isolation. These changes resulted in a 72% decrease in the duration of isolation!

Leah Miels, Program Director at Muskegon, noted “the key to the facility’s success, by far, was creating staff buy-in.” She explains that providing staff with training and hard numbers and statistics had a huge impact on the staff’s desire to work even harder with troublesome youths.

The 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 Aug. 14, 2015. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

Muskegon Staff
Staff at Muskegon River Youth Center

Youths playing basketball

Water Balloon War
A water balloon war in beautiful weather