PbS Issue Brief Series
What Youths Say Matters
You should read this brief if you are concerned about juvenile justice or work with juvenile offenders from Performance-based Standards (PbS). “Research is mounting that shows youths’ experiences while in residential programs have a significant impact on both the safety and climate within the facility as well as whether the youth continues to commit crimes when he or she returns to the community. A recent analysis of the Pathways to Desistance Study added to the growing body of findings with two conclusions professionals can put into practice: 1) Youths who have generally positive experiences in custody are less likely to recidivate when released and 2) Surveying youths about their perceptions and experiences is a cost-effective means to reduce recidivism” (p. 1).
“When young offenders are placed in secure residential facilities to receive the care and services they need to return to the community and not return to criminal behavior, the juvenile justice system expects that facility staff are well-trained, maintain safe and healthy environments and care about the youths. Research and experience show staff-youth relationships significantly impact youths’ successful reentry yet the relationships are easily threatened by external influences such as staff turnover, facility closings, relocation of staff and youths, changing laws and regulations and punitive behavior management policies. Asking staff members about their perceptions, experiences and feelings working in facilities adds another critical level of understanding to what makes a facility successful or not in rehabilitating youths” (p. 2). Results from a PbS Staff Climate Survey show that the majority of staff: have positive relationships with the youth; are satisfied with their jobs; have received necessary training; feel their supervisors support them; value the families of the youth; and feel safe at work.
An innovative strategy for addressing the needs of incarcerated youth and their families is described. It involves the use of “four standards for facilities that, when met, will lead to positive outcomes and best practices for working with families” (p. 4). Sections cover: PbS Family-Youth Initiative (FYI)-uniting facilities and families; creating the new normal for incarcerated youth; FYI development; PbS Family Survey; and additional PbS family data.
First Step to Integrate Trauma-Informed Care: Ask Youths
If you work with traumatized youth, you need to read this brief. "PbS [Performance-based Standards] shares the first national results about youths’ perceptions of the current level of trauma-informed care in residential facilities and programs in this issue brief. The information offers baseline data to begin work to increase and deepen the positive impacts of integrating trauma-informed care into youth facility practices" (p. 4). Sections cover: integrating trauma-informed care into PbS; PbS and the Maine Division of Juvenile Services; PbS Youth Climate Survey; and what the youths said--46% of the youth remarked that they were told what trauma is and why it is important, 53% said someone asked them whether they had experienced any bad or upsetting things, 79% felt that staff respected them, and 53% believed that confidential conversations could not be overheard.