2016 Barbara Allen-Hagen Finalist Spotlight: Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center

Posted by Patricia Rafferty
May 11, 2016

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is pleased to announce Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh, OK as one of the finalists for the 2016 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the correction category. The program was selected as a finalist for their improvement plan improving safety measures across the entire facility.

COJC recognized that improving youth and staff safety was critical to improving several secondary outcome measures. Their team came to understand that treatment could not be achieved without first creating a safe environment. Under the leadership of the Administrative Executive Team, COJC began to strategically plan a comprehensive culture change focusing on an infusion of fresh research and creative treatment modalities. Music and art therapy classes, evidence-based programming, and collaborations with local universities were only some of the myriad of changes.

Carol Miller, PbS Site Coordinator for COJC, explains that buy-in from every level of facility staff is critical to ongoing success, and highlights that communication is the foundation of safety: “All staff was trained in ‘Think Trauma’ curriculum and Safety Plans were created for residents out of evidence-based Trauma Assessments which are shared with direct care staff to assist in identifying resident trauma triggers. The FIP team meets monthly to review current trends and determine how to sustain or improve progress; meeting minutes are shared with facility staff, [and] Executive Team meetings are held weekly to steer the changes and overcome unforeseen barriers to implementation.” Judges also highlighted the importance of buy-in, noting that COJC’s “desire to engage all staff from leadership to line staff in the culture changes was impressive.”

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. 5, 2016. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center

Group photo with Dwight Howard

Youths engaged in a science program