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Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center Selected as Finalist for the 2022 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award

Named a finalist in the detention and assessment category for the 2022 PbS Barbara Allen-Hagen Award, Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center focused on staff safety to address high levels of fear during the pandemic.

After reviewing results from the October 2020 data collection, Bridgeport Detention was above the national field average for the number of staff members who did not feel safe, an increase requiring protocol and policy changes. Paramount was addressing the fear among staff of contracting COVID-19 due to the lack of protection from residents who had the virus or had been exposed to it, with specific safety measures for new intakes arriving at the facility.

Through a series of meetings, discussions and survey data requiring input and feedback from staff members as to what they would like to see to feel supported, protected and safe, the Bridgeport team made specific policy and procedure changes. N95 masks and six feet of social distancing became mandatory with visitors no longer permitted in the facility, moving visits for young people to a virtual platform.

Weekly COVID-19 testing was introduced for all staff, with concrete testing days and time allotted for staff to communicate issues or concerns. Test results were communicated efficiently from the Deputy Superintendent to administration, speeding up the process of informing staff members of a positive COVID-19 test to make sure they quarantined and did not report to work.

PPE Equipment was required for intake staff with incoming residents required to answer a COVID-19 questionnaire. A yes response to one or more questions led to a two-week quarantine in a designated unit manned by staff required to wear masks, gloves and surgical gowns. Additionally, staff with family members considered to be high risk for COVID-19 complications were given the opportunity to isolate if they suspected potential exposure at Bridgeport Detention. The State of Connecticut partnered with several hotels to provide reserved rooms for staff members worried about contracting and/or spreading the virus.

With the new staff safety policies and protocols in place, the level of fear decreased at Bridgeport Detention and staff members were appreciative that their concerns were heard. We congratulate the team at Bridgeport Detention for using PbS data to make specific changes throughout the pandemic to keep everyone safe!

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 every young person as one of our own by developing and implementing strategic plans aimed at creating positive outcomes for young people, staff and families.

Read more about:  Barbara Allen-Hagen

About the author

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy is a program assistant for the PbS Learning Institute. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has extensive experience in writing, editing, and content creation for private, healthcare, and non-profit organizations. A published novelist with three book club favorites from Simon & Schuster, Lisa’s writing can be found in numerous literary journals, print, and online publications.

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