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Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators Toolkit: Reducing the Use of Isolation

A response to behavioral problems in many facilities has been reliance on isolation for acting out youths who are mentally challenged, chronically violent, or gang involved. Instead of being used as a last resort to protect youths from self-harm, hurting others or causing significant property damage that is terminated as soon as a youth regains control, isolation too often becomes the behavior management system by default. Research has made clear that isolating youths for long periods of time or as a consequence for negative behavior undermines the rehabilitative goals of youth corrections ... CJCA presents this Toolkit to help its members and the field reduce the use of isolation and ultimately better help youths in juvenile facilities become successful members of the community (p. 5). Sections comprising this Toolkit are: introduction; overview of the issues of isolation and how it is defined; a summary of the research substantiating the negative impacts of isolation; how solitary confinement harms children; CJCA position in the use of isolation; five steps to reduce the use of isolation; conclusion and action steps for juvenile agency administrators; tips from agency directors that have reduced the use of isolation; examples from states that have reduced the use of isolation-Massachusetts, Maine, Indiana, and Alaska; and a statement from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) regarding solitary confinement.