PbS > Initiatives > Performance-based Standards (PbS)

Performance-based Standards (PbS)


Performance-based Standards (PbS) for Youth Correction and Detention Facilities is a program for agencies and facilities to identify, monitor and improve conditions and treatment services provided to incarcerated youths using national standards and outcome measures. PbS was launched in 1995 by the US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to improve the deplorable conditions reported by the 1994 Conditions of Confinement study of 1,000 secure facilities. Directed by the PbS Learning Institute (PbS Li), PbS asks participants to collect and analyze data to target specific areas for improvement.

The PbS system of continuous learning and improvement provides:

  • A set of goals and standards that individual facilities and agencies should strive to meet
  • Tools to help facilities achieve these standards through regular self-assessment and self-improvement
  • Reports that allow facilities to evaluate performance over time and in comparison to similar facilities
  • Promotion and sharing of effective practices and support among facilities.

PbS Li’s goal is to integrate PbS into daily facility operations to create a field-supported and self-sustaining continuous learning and improvement system in facilities nationwide. PbS Li provides support to PbS sites through a variety of training and technical assistance efforts, which include a consultant assigned to each site to ease and guide PbS implementation.

Benefits of participation include:

  • The ability to measure and track key indicators of facility performance
  • Comparison with similar participating facilities across the country
  • Definition of measurable goals and development of strategies to achieve them
  • Access resources and assistance to make improvements
  • Accountability and data available to help gain public support

The PbS system asks facilities to collect certain data from records, reports and interviews and enter it online through the PbS website. The data is checked by PbS staff and used to generate an online graphic site report of each facility’s performance in key outcome measures. The report tracks performance over time and shows facility measures compared to field averages. All data from individual facilities is kept confidential.

Using the information in the site reports, facilities work with PbS consultants to identify areas that need improvement then develop and implement a detailed improvement plan.

My button

Learn more about PbS