2016 Barbara Allen-Hagen Winner Spotlight: Luther Hall

Posted by Patricia Rafferty
August 02, 2016

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is pleased to announce Luther Hall in Fargo, ND as the winner of the 2016 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the community residential category. The program was selected as the winner for their improvement plan improving safety measures across the entire program.

Throughout 2014, Luther Hall began to see a pattern of alarming behavior. Residents were assuming control of the residential floor through defiance, and staffing turnover was at an all-time high. Increased incidents and physical restraints led to an increase in staff and resident injuries. The PbS team at Luther Hall found through staff and youth climate surveys that a quarter of their staff and half of their residents feared for their safety. Recognizing that safety is the foundational characteristic of a successful program, Luther Hall embarked on a comprehensive and thorough redesign of their curricula, staff training, administrative structure, and information gathering & dissemination.

Tyler Holland, PbS Site Coordinator for Luther Hall, explained how impactful changing Luther Hall’s staff schedule was to turnover; Luther Hall’s “Residential Supervisors eschewed 10 hour shifts, instead implementing 8.5 hour shifts in an attempt to decrease potential staff exhaustion. Since this change was made, [Luther Hall’s turnover rate plummeted] from 93% in 2014 to only 21% in 2015.” Additionally, communication across shifts was increased. Luther Hall created a team shift report, generated during the midday shift change, “in an effort to establish communication throughout the facility and to guarantee a smooth transition from morning to evening.” Luther Hall has also changed the frame through which they view negative behavior; Holland notes that instead of focusing on the negative behavior itself, staff’s “increased focus on the antecedents to potential crisis situations has allowed us to gain clearer insight into the reasons residents are demonstrating the negative behaviors… By developing a stronger understanding of the preceding conduct, we have gained an educated understanding of ways in which we can proactively support our residents when poor conduct arises.”

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.

Read about the 2016 Barbara Allen-Hagen award finalists in the correction and detention categories.

Luther Hall in Fargo, North Dakota

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