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14 —

March/April 2017

Corrections Today


Juvenile Justice News

Managing solitude

Reducing the use of isolation in secure

juvenile confinement facilities

By Michael Dempsey

In 2014, the Council of Juvenile

Correctional Administrators

(CJCA) created the “Reducing the

Use of Isolation Toolkit” (www.

in response to the

negative impact that isolation/

room confinement is said to have

on youths in juvenile correctional

facilities. This toolkit, grounded

in best practices research, was

developed as a guide for youth

detention and correctional

administrators in reducing the use

of isolation, providing a structured

approach to address the issue of

isolation effectively.

Building on the momentum

generated by the release of

the toolkit, CJCA launched a

training and technical assistance

program in 2015 to help juvenile

justice agencies reduce, limit and

potentially end the use of isolation

in secure juvenile detention and

correctional facilities.

Gaining broad


The Reducing Isolation in Youth

Facilities Training and Technical

Assistance (RIYF-TTA) program

is a project supported through a

partnership between the Center

for Coordinated Assistance to

States, the American Institutes for

Research, the Center for Juvenile

Justice Reform at Georgetown

University, and CJCA. The primary

goal of the RIYF-TTA program

is to assist jurisdictions in the

development and


of strategic action

plans that would

effectively reduce the

use of isolation in juvenile

justice facilities. Over a two-

year period (2015–2016), the

RIYF-TTA program has served

two cohorts, within which a total

of 14 jurisdictions throughout

the U.S. have participated. After a

competitive application process,

the following eight agencies were

selected to participate in the initial

RIYF-TTA cohort:

– California Department

of Corrections and

Rehabilitation-Division of

Juvenile Justice.

– Georgia Department of

Juvenile Justice.

– Minnesota Department

of Corrections-Red Wing

Juvenile Correctional Facility.

– Nebraska Department of

Health and Human Services-

Office of Juvenile Services.

– Nevada Department of Health

and Human Services-Division

of Child and Family Services.

– South Carolina Department of

Juvenile Justice.

– Washington Juvenile

Justice and Rehabilitation


– West Virginia Division of

Juvenile Services.

An additional six jurisdictions

participated in the second RIYF-

TTA cohort, which began in

February 2016 and culminated

in November 2016. The second

cohort included the Alaska

Division of Juvenile Justice;

Los Angeles County Probation

Department; Maricopa County

Juvenile Probation Department

(in Arizona); Mississippi

Department of Human Services-

Division of Youth Services;

Montana Department of

Corrections-Youth Services

Division; and Siskiyou County

Probation Department (in


Team support

To further this process, multi-

disciplinary leadership teams,

committed to reducing the use

of isolation in the facilities they

operate, represented each of the

14 participating jurisdictions.

Team members included agency

directors, facility superintendents

and direct care staff from a

variety of areas (i.e., supervision/

custody, treatment, education,