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Juvenile Justice: Institutions - Performance-based Standards

facilities health correctional improvements

In 1995 OJJDP, acting on one of the recommendations contained in its COC report, launched a major initiative to improve the conditions of confinement in juvenile detention and correctional facilities, now known as the Performance-based Standards (PbS) Project. For five years the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA), an organization representing chief executive officers of state and large county juvenile correctional agencies, which was designated by OJJDP, developed and has been implementing a set of outcome-based standards in detention and correctional facilities throughout the country. A set of standards addresses safety, order, security, programming, health/mental health, justice of facility operations, and reintegration of offenders into the community. Each standard has one or more outcome measures that monitors performance with data and reflects improvements over time, as well as associated expected practices and processes that support performance and serve as the foundation for improved operations.

By the end of 2000, nearly sixty individual facilities from twenty-three states were implementing the performance-based system. Eight states have adopted the system in all facilities, allowing for systemic change, improvements, and management. Results of four data collections (every six months) demonstrate measurable improvements at participating sites, such as reduced use of isolation and room confinement, increased numbers of youths receiving health and mental health screenings and assessments, implementation of behavior modification programs, and reduction of assaults on youths and staff. As of 2001, the PbS project team was working to develop a software package and training model that can facilitate data collection and make the new standards system part of daily management operations in facilities throughout the country.

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