Code of Practice Committee

The number of youth committed to short-term or long-term secure residential facilities across the United States decreased from 86,814 youth in 2007 to 43,580 in 2017. As a result, more youth are being served in communities and there is an increased concentration of higher need and higher risk youth in secure residential facilities. Young people entering the juvenile justice systems’ secure facilities have arrived with multiple challenges, including mental health issues, exposure to traumatic events, substance use, sexually reactive behaviors, and developmental disabilities. Deep-end, secure Juvenile justice system facilities have become the last resort for localities that lack the resources and/or services to meet the needs of these youth in a community-based setting.

Currently, there are no national standards for crisis intervention, violence and harm prevention, or any type of universal behavior response training. In response to the field’s needs, in November 2019 the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA) and partner organizations published the “CJJA Position Paper: Code of Practice for Harm and Violence Prevention and Comprehensive Intervention Strategies for Juvenile Justice Systems” (http://cjja.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/CJJA-Position- Paper-Code-of-Practice.pdf). To set these concepts in motion, CJJA and its partners created a Code of Practice Committee to closely examine best practices in key areas and work to develop national standards to guide juvenile justice practices.

Committee Description and Goals: The CJJA Code of Practice emphasizes the need for facility safety which involves reducing the use of all forms of restraints (physical, mechanical, and chemical) and reducing or eliminating the use of isolation. This working committee examines data and research on best practices; reviews existing policies and procedures; discusses the most effective practices in the field. The committee’s main purpose is to develop national standards to reflect the least restrictive and most effective intervention strategies for each of the identified practice areas. Establishing national standards will provide guidance to juvenile justice leaders and staff with the goal of encouraging staff to employ effective strategies when working with youth and families. Ultimately, setting national expectations will improve the safety of facilities and positively impact youth and family outcomes.

NOTE: If you are interest in becoming a member of CJJA and/or this committee please contact Charity Brenstuhl via email at charity.brenstuhl@cjja.net

Committee Founded: September 2020

Meeting Frequency: Monthly

Resources:

  • CJJA Position Paper: Code of Practice for Harm and Violence Prevention and Comprehensive Intervention Strategies for Juvenile Justice Systems (November 2019).  Code of Practice
Susan Burke, Code of Practice Committee Chair

Susan Burke, Code of Practice Committee Chair

CJJA Associate

As a former probation executive and head of a state juvenile corrections agency, Susan Burke brings nearly 30 years of experience in the justice field to her position as executive director of The Carey Group. She led both adult and juvenile justice reform in Utah; championed legislation to offer treatment rather than incarceration to substance-dependent individuals involved in the criminal justice system; shaped state policies on a variety of justice-related issues; and served on many national boards. She is the former president of the American Probation and Parole Association and has served on the executive committees for the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the Justice Center Board for the Council of State Governments, and the National Association of Probation Executives. Susan has used Carey Group Publishing resources in her own agencies to strengthen practices and improve outcomes for system-involved individuals. Her skills in strategic planning and the application of evidence-based practices resulted in a 15 percent improvement in felony-free behavior for system-involved individuals within a five-year period. She received the Youth Advocate of the Year award in 2002 and again in 2018 from the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice. She also received, from the Council of Juvenile Corrections Administrators, the President’s Award in 2013 and the Outstanding Administrator Award in 2015. She has spoken at national conferences, been a keynote speaker, and is an inspirational leader for community corrections. She has a strong belief that with the right tools and the right mindset, any justice agency can fulfill its mission to help individuals contribute to a safer community.