PbS > News > Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility Named Finalist for the 2017 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility Named Finalist for the 2017 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Performance-based Standards (PbS) is pleased to announce Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility (PHYCF) in Miles City, MT as one of the finalists for the 2017 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award in the correction category. The facility was selected as a finalist for their improvement plan to increase safety facility-wide.

Committed to continuous improvement, the PHYCF team noticed fear for safety among staff was still high after years of efforts to successfully reduce confinement and isolation at the facility. The team decided to formally address the issue of this culture change to a more juvenile-based approach as it related to staff perceptions about what they were doing and why they were doing it.

Each member of the PHYCF Safety Committee spoke with staff within their work sections and learned their process of institutional changes had outpaced their process of cultural changes. The PHYCF team focused on several interventions to address culture change and sought to ensure staff understood the reasons behind all changes as they were being implemented. A three-part approach included interventions within training to inform about dangers of confinement and idle time, disciplinary alternatives and building positive relationships with youths, supervisory support to increase face time between managers and line staff and guidance/oversight to include more monitoring and ongoing reviews of incidents.

Together, these implementations have been successful for the team at PHYCF. They plan to sustain their improvements by continuing with the successful interventions, reviewing and sharing data and continually seeking feedback by viewing every meeting as an opportunity to address concerns and move forward with positive change. The sustained positive changes at PHYCF already resulted in a feature podcast interview of Quality Assurance Manager and PbS Site Coordinator Jeff Holland on Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI)’s Unrestrained blog and a feature video by the Montana State Fund (MSF). PHYCF was selected as an MSF Work Safe Champion due to their successful reduction and continued low rate of staff injury claims.

The team at PHYCF describes the key to their success as looking beyond the data. The data alone was not enough to convince staff that the facility was in fact, safer, as a result of the new juvenile-based approach. It took a more comprehensive approach of sharing research in addition to the data and creating opportunities for discussion and feedback to get staff buy-in. Superintendent and PbS Facility Administrator Steve Ray attributes their success to the persistence of his team: “I have to give our managers and trainers a lot of credit, they continually got back up and kept spreading the message and using the PbS data to prove that what we were doing was working. It was a long journey, one that will likely never be complete, and it was worth it.”

The Barbara Allen-Hagen Award was established in 2007 to honor Barbara Allen-Hagen and her retirement from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Her dedication to improving the quality of life in facilities for young offenders has helped drive PbS to its current success. The award is given to a correction, detention/assessment and community program who best exemplify PbS’ commitment to treating all youths in custody as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans to change practices that results in positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

Winners of the award will be announced the night of the ceremony on Oct. 26, 2017. Stay tuned for more blogs about the finalists.

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Staff and youth playing softball during one of many staff-youth tournaments

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Staff at the vocational program booth at the annual Communication Fair, showcasing furniture made by youths

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Youths engaged in the equine program, a series of training sessions with a local expert

This article was originally published on the CJCA blog.

Monday, July 17, 2017 at 5:31 PM