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Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) (Braintree MA)

"This webinar will begin by reviewing research describing the prevalence of mental health disorders among juveniles in contact with the juvenile justice system. The importance of recognizing adverse childhood experiences and trauma is discussed, as is the challenge of identifying and responding to features of “developmental trauma” since there is not an adequate DSM-IV or DSM-5 diagnosis to capture this clinical presentation. Evidence-based and emerging clinical interventions are described. The webinar will focus on adapting Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to fit the needs of the juvenile justice population. In 2006, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services designated DBT as the primary clinical and behavioral approach for the rehabilitation of youth committed to the Department. Discussion will focus on implementing DBT across a state-wide system and maintaining fidelity to the model. How DBT concepts can be used in providing treatment (teaching self-regulation and interpersonal effective skills) and in behavior management in the program (positive based programming and decreasing room confinement) will be described."

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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.

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"Reducing recidivism is a key indicator of success for juvenile corrections agencies." This interactive map is an excellent resource for finding out about juvenile offender recidivism across the United States. Information provided for each responding state shows its definition of recidivism (measure(s) of reoffending, length of follow up, and whether offenders are followed in to the criminal justice system), how performance (recidivism) is measured (compare to previous year release cohorts, and compare rates by offender risk), reporting (frequency of reporting, and target audience), and the source of the state's data. One may get all the information provided in the interactive tool in one PDF table.

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