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Mission and Values

Across America, about 30,000 young people are confined in juvenile justice facilities and 325,000 or more are involved in some form of community supervision. Most youths come into the juvenile justice system as a result of disadvantages they’ve experienced such as poverty, trauma and abuse and have not committed serious offenses. The majority are young black and brown men, 16-17-years old with poor reading and math skills, unmet special education needs and little to no employability skills or work experience. When they leave they face formidable barriers: unstable living situations, schools that won’t accept them, restrictions on eligibility for financial aid, military service and public housing, exclusion from jobs because of their system involvement and lack of basic life supports such as transportation and day care.

Performance-based Standards (PbS) was launched in 1995 with the belief that we need to treat all youths in custody as one of our own. Fully aware that the United States relies on incarceration to respond to delinquency, we set the expectation that time in juvenile justice facilities should be viewed as an opportunity to increase young offenders’ likelihood of success and to provide individualized, effective rehabilitation services that turn their lives around, not just keep them off the streets.


PbS’ mission statement defines our purpose and describes why we exist and what we do. It has been revised to reflect PbS’ future strategic direction:

To improve juvenile justice outcomes and integrate research into practice.


PbS’ vision statement describes the inspirational and aspirational long-term desired change resulting from our work.

PbS envisions a world where all youths have the education, skills, opportunities and connections they need to succeed.

Our Core Values

PbS’ work is grounded in a fundamental belief that juvenile justice systems can turn around lives of disadvantaged youths. Most of the youths’ interactions with the system result from the challenges they face including violence, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, traumatic experiences and lack of opportunities. Juvenile justice professionals at all levels are dedicated to keeping youths and communities safe, responding to youths’ needs with individualized, developmentally-appropriate services and providing the experiences and opportunities needed to grow up to become productive, purposeful citizens.

To carry out our mission, PbS embraces the following values:

  • Leading with courage in the pursuit of equity by speaking the truth, taking risks, challenging our colleagues to be bold and continually expanding our thinking;
  • Creating diverse and inclusive cultures of trust and teamwork, where everyone is welcome and valued;
  • Delivering our very best in all we do and holding ourselves accountable for results; and
  • Taking care of ourselves and our colleagues, showing respect and compassion and being responsible for the energy we bring to work.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.