Skip to the content

Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Center- Durango Named Finalist for the 2021 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Center- Durango has been named as a finalist in the detention and assessment category for the 2021 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award for reducing isolation and confinement in their facility.

In 2017, the Durango facility team implemented policy and practice changes aimed at reducing the average time youths spent confined to their rooms. A growing body of research and experience was demonstrating the negative impact of isolation and confinement on mental and physical health. At Durango, the use of the practices as punishment was not showing effective results and was at odds with their vision to establish a stabilized and supportive culture that had long-term impact.

The changes initially led to an increase in staff fearing for their safety, which the Durango team was prepared for. They quickly created an improvement plan to ease staff fear and persevered. They established feedback channels and safety and behavior management committees, as well as held numerous conversations with staff and youths. They saw the culture shift to focus on relationship-building and programming for the youths.

The efforts to reduce staff fear helped the Durango team meet two recent challenges: the pandemic and the transfer of youths and staff from a nearby facility that was closed. They took this transition as an opportunity to strengthen their improvement plan. The team made a conscious and deliberate effort to create an environment of open communication and embed the feedback and conversations into practice. Being under one roof meant that the team could coordinate a schedule for staff and supervisors that allowed for longer hours of overlap of staff between daily shifts. They found that the additional staffing decreased staff burnout, enhanced staff presence on the floor and increased opportunities for youth engagement. As a result of the changes the number of hands-on incidents decreased, as did staff and youth injuries. Ultimately this generated an environment where both staff and youths felt safe and supported.

Maricopa Durango Team

The PbS 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 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 as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans to change practices that results in positive outcomes for youths, staff and families.

Read more about:  Awards, Barbara Allen-Hagen

About the author

Yumi Bonnardeaux

Yumi Bonnardeaux

Yumiko (Yumi) Bonnardeaux joined PbS as Director of Development and Communications in January 2021. For over 13 years, she has worked with corporate, government, industry and nonprofits to develop and execute strategic communications and marketing campaigns across diverse sectors including engineering, health and education. In 2020, she and her family moved from Australia to Boston, where she joined PbS’ team inspired by their commitment and efforts to deliver better outcomes for youths and families connected to the juvenile justice system.

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