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Using the Desktop Guide

As with the original Desktop Guide for Good Practice in Juvenile Detention, this new Desktop Guide for Quality Practice for Working with Youth in Confinement (Desktop Guide) is a working document intended to enlighten, inform, and challenge the user. It assumes that totally competent and skillful professionals who work with confined youth need a solid understanding of the basic concepts and principles relevant to their work.

All of the contributors offer the Desktop Guide's immeasurably valuable content freely and expect that its readers will use it to improve the field, give the authors their due credit, and publicly state the source of their information as being the Desktop Guide. (Please see the Recommended Citation below.)

The Desktop Guide is not intended to be a “how to” manual, even though it contains information intended to inform facility policy, procedure, and practice. Getting the full benefit of the information contained in the Desktop Guide will require the reader to read, reflect on the content and, then possibly reevaluate current practices. It may also lead to a rethinking of a person’s professional commitment and career development. The authors and other contributors to this resource trust that the content of the Desktop Guide will stimulate the reader and generate and support professional growth. The authors also feel that you, the practitioner, will be the best judge of how to use this resource. To that end, practitioners have suggested the following range of possibilities:

  • To inform staff training content.
  • To help elected officials understand what constitutes quality practice to leverage financial and other support.
  • To supplement and support presentations by juvenile justice leaders to local, state, or federal policymakers and legislators.
  • To form the foundation of an independent study for staff seeking to become managers and leaders in their agencies.
  • To craft lesson plans for teaching juvenile justice or other academic courses.
  • To guide decision-making on whom to include on a facility’s advisory board.
  • To enlighten or influence judicial sentencing and prosecutorial practices.
  • To guide development of emergency preparedness plans.
  • To use as a resource in academic curriculum development.

A host of nationally recognized and respected experts and professionals wrote the nineteen chapters of the Desktop Guide. Many other practitioners contributed quotes, examples of programs and practices, policies and procedures, and more that they have found to be useful and effective and that may be of value to those currently working with youth in confinement. The field of juvenile justice is privileged to be the beneficiary of so much generous support.

The Desktop Guide has two parts. Part I: Principles and Concepts explores the background principles, concepts, and knowledge at the core of juvenile justice and services for youth in confinement. Part II: Daily Practice identifies what is quality practice, including the skills needed to effectively serve youth in confinement.

Part I: Principles and Concepts

Chapter 1: Historical Perspective, by Michele Deitch, J.D., in partnership with a number of her students at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas, Austin.

This chapter looks at major milestones in the history of the juvenile justice system and the juvenile court in the United States. It discusses the emergence of a national agenda on juvenile justice reform through the passage of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act in 1974 and the increasing roles of federal and state governments in juvenile justice matters. The chapter then explores the shift in attitude towards juvenile crime that took place in the 1980s and 90s and the impact that this “tough on crime” era had on juvenile justice practices, as well as the current national trend that emphasizes the differences between juveniles and adults and promotes the use of a “developmental model” in meeting the needs of youth.

Chapter 2: Types of Facilities, by Pam Clark, MSW, LSW, Program Associate with the National Center for Youth in Custody (NCYC).

This chapter describes the different types of facilities in which youth are confined—both juvenile and adult—and the general purposes of each of these facility types. It also covers confinement facility standards, licensing, and audits.

Chapter 3: Physical Plant Design and Operations, by Jim Moeser, Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.

Chapter 3 discusses the role that facility design and programming play in conditions of confinement and the impact of the organization’s mission and values on the facility environment. The chapter covers issues related to new construction versus remodeling existing facilities, operational costs and cost efficiency, and facility downsizing and closures. Issues related to the safe physical management of youth in confinement, including a comparison of short- and long-term programs and legal requirements are also discussed.

Chapter 4: Developing and Maintaining a Professional Workforce, by Pam Clark.

This chapter focuses on the criticality of developing and maintaining a professional workforce to the overall success of the facility. It discusses job function, quality of staff, the importance of training and staff development, the core competencies of youth work, the movement toward practitioner certification, and the role of ethics in professional practice.

Chapter 5: Rights and Responsibilities, by attorney Michael Umpierre.

This chapter focuses on the rights and responsibilities of youth in confinement and the staff serving those youth. It discusses youth access to family and community services, education, grievances, due process rights, and protection from harm. Chapter 5 also examines importance of cultural competency and boundaries for both youth and staff.

Chapter 6: Adolescent Development, by Dr. Rodney Erwin, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.

Chapter 6 addresses the numerous factors that contribute to adolescent development, including biology, family, and social influences. The chapter offers a picture of typical adolescent development and discusses the factors that may alter this development in a negative manner. It also covers recent research findings related to adolescent brain development and the impact of this research on legal issues such as the transfer of youth to the adult criminal court and the sentencing of youth. The chapter also addresses theories of delinquency, the role of gangs, and the impact of trauma.

Chapter 7: Evolving Issues, by Charles Kehoe, CEO of Kehoe Correctional Consulting.

This chapter examines emerging issues for confinement facilities that serve youth including fluctuating crime rates, funding and budget challenges, the impact of alternatives to incarceration movements, the push toward evidence-based practices, and much more.

Part II: Daily Practice

Chapter 8: Management and Facility Administration, by Anne Nelsen, MSW, MPA, Juvenile Justice Consultant.

Chapter 8 focuses on issues related to leadership and management including the importance of articulating an organizational vision and mission, capacity building, and succession planning. The chapter also addresses in some detail the purpose and value of having a well developed policy and procedures manual, and both internal and external communication plans. It also covers staffing issues, specifically those related to staffing adequacy, the evaluation of staff, and labor law issues.

Chapter 9: Admission and Intake, by Anne Nelsen.

This chapter defines and examines admission and intake processes and procedures, including the various elements and steps involved. It also discusses the need for a broad array of appropriate screenings and assessments, resident orientation, classification, and housing.

Chapter 10: Effective Programs and Services, by Wayne Liddell, CEO of W.R. Liddell & Associates, in collaboration with Kathy Starkovich, M.S., Deputy Director of the DuPage County Department of Probation and Court Services, and Pam Clark.

Chapter 10 discusses evidence-based and evidence-informed practice and decision-making and the importance of fidelity in using such practices. It also covers various types and elements of programming for youth in confinement—with an emphasis on cognitive behavioral interventions—and the role of reentry.

Chapter 11: Mental Health, by Dr. Lisa Boesky, clinical psychologist and expert on mental health and suicide prevention in juvenile justice facilities.

This chapter addresses key issues related to youth in custody with mental health disorders: co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, head-injury trauma, suicide prevention, self-injury, screening and assessment, mental health treatment, psychotropic medication, and isolation. Dr. Boesky provides effective management strategies and highlights the importance of trauma-responsive care, line staff, and family engagement.

Chapter 12: Healthcare, by Dr. Michelle Staples-Horne, Medical Director with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice.

Chapter 12 looks at all of the various aspects of healthcare including medical and dental services, dietary services and nutrition, health risk behaviors such as substance abuse, and sexual safety. It also discusses special healthcare needs, such as eating disorders and infectious and communicable diseases. In addition, the chapter addresses the importance of communication among staff, the impact of HIPAA on communication with both staff and families, and the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the juvenile justice system.

Chapter 13: Education, by Randy Farmer, Educational Director with the Lancaster Youth Services Program, in collaboration with Carol Cramer Brooks, Director of the National Center for Youth in Custody (NCYC) and CEO of the National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS).

This chapter presents a comprehensive discussion of educational requirements and quality education services for youth in confinement, including liaisons with local school districts. It also looks at career development and vocational programs, bridges to post-secondary education, and the importance of the relationship between facility and education staff in integrating education into the facility culture.

Chapter 14: Behavior Management, by Michele Deitch.

Chapter 14 discusses the importance of establishing a therapeutic culture and using a multi-tiered approach to behavior management that is grounded in positive staff–youth relationships and structured daily schedules. The chapter also addresses crisis management, the criminal prosecution, and transfer to and management of youth in adult facilities.

Chapter 15: Service and Treatment Plans, by Dr. Nelson Griffis, Juvenile Justice Consultant, in collaboration with Jennifer Sloan, MSW, Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services, Wayne R. Liddell, and James Moeser.

Chapter 15 discusses the development of various types of service and treatment plans needed for youth in confinement and suggests who should participate in planning. The chapter addresses the need for these plans to be culturally sensitive and inclusive of both family members and the community where youth will need support and services after their release from confinement.

Chapter 16: Behavior Observation, Recording, and Report Writing, by Anne Nelsen.

This chapter addresses youth safety and monitoring, the purpose and importance of documentation and report writing, and the recent shift in many facilities to electronic forms of documentation. The chapter also addresses documentation as it relates to suicide prevention and information on mandatory reporting requirements.

Chapter 17: Quality Assurance, by Dr. Kelly Dedel.

Chapter 17 covers at certification, accreditation, and audits—such as those required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)—optional audits—such as Performance-based Standards (PbS) and the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) self-assessment—as a means of assuring quality. The chapter also discusses mandatory reporting and the existence of other local and state requirements.

Chapter 18: Transition Planning and Reentry, by Joyce Burrell, Principal Researcher with the American Institutes of Research (AIR) and James Moeser.

This chapter discusses transition planning and reentry, emphasizing family engagement, education services, referrals to community-based services, and other community linkages.

Chapter 19: Complex Issues and Vulnerable Populations, by a panel of experts and professionals.

A great deal of discussion among members of the Desktop Guide team went into what topics and issues should be discussed in this chapter. The original list was extensive (22 topics), and yet it was not exhaustive. The team eventually decided to focus—at least initially—on nine areas of practice that were most often mentioned during focus groups and in other conversations with practitioners across the country. Coverage of additional areas may be added to this chapter as the need is indicated through input from the field.

  • PREA, by Steve Jett, Director of the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center, Certified PREA Auditor.
  • Working with LGBTQI Youth, by Mykel Selph, Criminal Justice Consultant with The Moss Group, Inc.
  • Youth in Adult Facilities, by Elissa Rumsey, Compliance Monitor Coordinator with OJJDP.
  • Emergency Preparedness, by Chuck Kehoe.
  • Dual Adjudication Youth, by Laurie Elliott, J.D., Executive Director at the Youth Law T.E.A.M. of Indiana.
  • Sex Offenders, by Dr. Hugh Hanlin, Psychologist.

The material contained in the Desktop Guide should evoke a reaction from the reader. Although NPJS hopes that the reaction is positive, it also hopes that any disagreements and negative reactions will result in renewed dialog on specific subjects. Representatives of NPJS are open to discussing dissenting or contrary beliefs and to working through any differences to the ultimate benefit of practitioners and youth.

Tech Guide

The Desktop Guide is designed to be user friendly, so the best approach is for you (the reader) to just jump in and start exploring. You won’t get lost and you can’t break anything. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

The Main Navigation Bar runs across the top of all pages on the site; its contain the primary navigation options.

The Homepage introduces you to the Guide (Welcome Letters, Foreword, etc.) and directs you to a list of volunteers from across the country who helped develop the Desktop Guide’s content.

The Principles and Concepts and the Daily Practice tabs list the Desktop Guide’s nineteen chapters. Select a chapter and, when you arrive at the top of the narrative, you will also be able to click on the author’s name to see his or her bio. You can also find a print-friendly version of the chapter.

The Contributors tab lists the project team members and the focus group participants and centralizes all of the authors’ bios, which you can also print or download.

The Left Column Navigation Bar allows the reader to jump to the chapter sections, defined by the headings. The chapters are lengthy, and this will help you minimize scrolling and searching.

The Keyword Search window is located at the top of the Left Column Navigation Bar. Enter your search term, and if it appears within the Desktop Guide, you will get a list of the related material.

The Links point you to interrelated chapter topics. Each chapter may refer to key issues or topics addressed elsewhere within the Desktop Guide. Follow the links to those additional discussions, use the return arrow to resume.

The Annotations are in endnote format. You can click the note number in the text to view the endnote, and click back again to resume reading. The reference list contains the full bibliographic entry and related external links.

Recommended Citation for This Guide

When citing this guide, please include the authors name and the chapter title. The following is one suggested format:

Author Last, Author First, Author First and Last. 2014. "Chapter Title." in Desktop Guide to Quality Practice for Working with Youth in Confinement. National Partnership for Juvenile Services and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. URL for the cited chapter.

Recommended Citation for This Guide

When citing this guide, please click here for the suggested format.