JAIBG funds may be used to develop programs in any of 12 program purpose areas established by Congress. The first of these areas -- "building, expanding, renovating, or operating temporary or permanent juvenile correction or detention facilities, including training of correctional personnel" -- addresses construction, operation, and training. Before beginning construction, however, jurisdictions should complete a master plan, determine what type of facility will best meet their needs and expectations, and reach a decision to construct. Master planning is a key component because it establishes the specific policies to prevent and reduce crowding and control the length of stay (DeMuro and Dunlap, 1998).

To provide practitioners practical guidance and advice on best practices under JAIBG Program Purpose Area 1, this paper addresses five main themes: construction decisions, master planning, facility development, operations, and training.

  • Construction decisions. Construction under Program Purpose Area 1 includes building new facilities, expanding existing capacity through new construction, and renovating existing facilities. There are many reasons to build, including the large number of juveniles currently incarcerated in crowded facilities (Parent et al., 1994), the pressing need for secure beds in jurisdictions without juvenile detention, and the deteriorating condition of many facilities.

    Because construction is expensive, decisions to build, expand, or renovate facilities should be reached by using systematic, data-driven, and rational methods. Decision makers, for example, should be able to provide empirical evidence of a need for construction. If data indicate a need to build, then jurisdictions have a strong rationale for construction.

  • Master planning. Master planning is a systematic process that increases the effectiveness of long-term decision making. Using a team of juvenile justice specialists and planners from outside a jurisdiction, the process leads key juvenile justice and community stakeholders through activities that will elicit a locally defined vision and mission for the jurisdiction's juvenile justice system. Data collection and operational recommendations are then based on these core values and principles.

  • Facility development. The facility development process, which begins with operational/architectural programming, involves documenting operational priorities and determining spatial requirements and arrangements that will respond to a facility's management, daily programming, and environmental needs. During facility development and prior to the start of physical design activities, jurisdictions should also define cost parameters for staffing and construction and identify site issues.

  • Operations. Program Purpose Area 1 includes operations, which for juvenile detention and corrections facilities involves programs and services. Consistent with the competency development aspect of the Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) model,1 the operation of juvenile facilities rests on the assumption that the best way to improve public safety is by changing an offender's behavior. Success in doing so, however, is people-driven and, therefore, expensive (with staff costs for salaries, benefits, and training constituting a large part of operational costs). To help jurisdictions develop effective operating practices, this Bulletin identifies the fundamental needs of facilities and the key elements of operations, such as organizational prerequisites and program, staffing, and management principles.

  • Staff Training. Accountability-based interventions change juvenile offenders' behavior by providing them with opportunities to experience positive relationships with healthy adults in appropriate settings. Staff training is the most cost-effective way to integrate accountability-based principles into staff development in juvenile confinement and custody facilities.2 Staff training technology has expanded greatly through the programs and services of the American Correctional Association (ACA), the Juvenile Justice Trainers Association (JJTA), the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Academy Division, the National Juvenile Detention Association (NJDA), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Training and Technical Assistance Division (TTAD), and an increasing number of State-operated training academies. Although this Bulletin presents several training models and resources, it cannot capture all of the abundant knowledge on best practices in this area. Summaries of effective programs, along with a list of resources and an extensive bibliography, are provided to help practitioners retrieve original works and supplemental materials.

    1The Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) model, a core component of the OJJDP Comprehensive Strategy, is a combination of the Balanced Approach and the Restorative Justice models. It includes community protection, offender accountability, offender competency development, and restoration.

    2Confinement refers to a physically restricting placement, and custody describes places and programs (such as shelter care, day treatment, and home detention) that involve supervision but may allow youth to leave at specified times.

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Construction, Operations, and Staff Training for Juvenile Confinement Facilities JAIBG Bulletin   ·  December 1999