PbS > About Us > Benefits of Participation

Benefits of Participation

Benefits to Youths

PbS Participant Map
States with participating facilities are shown in blue.

PbS believes youth-serving agencies should be challenged to deliver effective and safe rehabilitation and reentry services for youths in custody. PbS monitors youths’ constitutional rights to reasonable safety, adequate medical and mental health treatment, rehabilitative programming and education. In addition, PbS asks youths for information about the facility or program safety, quality of services and staff relationships to provide a comprehensive picture of facility life. PbS’ data on how safe youths feel in the facility or program has led to increased focus on improving practices that directly relate to youths’ safety.

Benefits to Agency Administrators and Leaders

PbS provides a wealth of information about what happens daily in residential facilities and programs essential for ensuring the safety of youths and staff, for data-driven decision-making, demonstrating accountability and reporting successes. PbS describes the quality of life in facilities through timely, quantitative and qualitative data showing change over time and performance in comparison to other facilities and programs across the country. PbS also provides training, technical assistance and expert coaching to all PbS participating staff to meet PbS’ standards and commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own.

Benefits to Practitioners

Research and experience show staff-youth relationships, staff fairness and sense of safety significantly impact facility safety, youths’ successful reentry and youths’ levels on recidivism. PbS provides information to staff twice a year on what youths perceive about staff fairness, role modeling and respect for youths. Similarly, PbS provides staff with an opportunity twice a year to report their perceptions of safety, youth respect and training needs.

Benefits to Legislators

PbS helps state agencies and overseeing bodies proactively avoid potential incidents before they occur, thus reducing an organization’s exposure and liability to lawsuits. In 1997, Congress passed the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) protecting juveniles’ Constitutional rights to safety, adequate health and mental health care, rehabilitative treatment and education. Under CRIPA, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has investigated conditions of confinement in more than 100 juvenile facilities. The analysis concluded that PbS goals relating to safety, order, security, health and mental health are tied closely to the constitutional issues upon which CRIPA investigations focus and that facilities implementing PbS standards and using PbS outcome measures minimize and potentially eliminate facilities’ risk of violating CRIPA and constitutional requirements. Regardless of whether litigation arises from the DOJ, CRIPA or an individual, the time and money required to participate in PbS pales in comparison to the resources consumed from even just one lawsuit.

In 2003, South Dakota recognized the value of participating in PbS; Gov. M. Michael Rounds signed Executive Order 2003-01 recognizing PbS as “an effective and efficient process of program evaluation designed to improve conditions of confinement” and ordered the corrections agency to maintain active participation in PbS in all juvenile facilities and to report PbS results at least annually to the state legislature. (Their reports are available at http://doc.sd.gov/juvenile/pbsp.aspx)

Benefits to Families and Communities

PbS balances the juvenile justice system’s responsibility to protect the public by keeping youths in custody secured and providing appropriate rehabilitative services to prevent future crime. PbS guides operations so that youths are safe in the facilities and return to the community with the skills and resources to grow up to be successful citizens. PbS also encourages facilities and programs to work closely with communities, families and social supports to ensure youths’ re-entry is a collaborative effort.