The Status of PBIS in
Secure Juvenile
Justice Settings and
Next Steps:
Perspectives from
Kristine Jolivette, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Sprague, Ph.D.
Brenda Scheuermann, Ph.D.
C. Michael Nelson, Ed.D.
Eugene Wang, Ph.D.
Who are we incarcerating?
2/3-3/4 of incarcerated youth have
characteristics that relate to behavior:
– Special education classification
– Mental disorders
– Drug and alcohol abuse
– History of abuse, neglect, and
witnessing violence
J. Gagnon, 2008
 Why
do these troubled and disabled
youth end up in the juvenile justice
 How does the system attempt to address
their needs?
 What are their post-incarceration
 Is PBIS a better approach?
How Juvenile Justice “Works”
 Incarceration
PLUS punishment
 Successful completion of “treatment” plans require
high levels of literacy skills
 Release is contingent upon progress through the
treatment plan
Youth with educational disabilities, poor literacy skills
make significantly slower progress
Average literacy levels of incarcerated youth range
from 5th-9th grade
 Education
is an add-on
Recidivism and Youth with
Recidivism: re-arrest, re-incarceration
All incarcerated youth: > 50%
69% of youth with disabilities were reincarcerated within
1 year of release
(Johnston, 2003)
Youth with disabilities were 2.8 times more likely to return
to corrections 6 months post-release and 1.8 times more
likely to return at 1 year (
(Lipsey, 2009; Snyder & Sickmund, 2006)
Bullis et al., 2002)
34.4% of youth in juvenile detention and state corrections
systems were identified as disabled
(Quinn, M. M., Rutherford, R. B., Leone, P. E., Osher, D., &
Poirier, 2005).
Why PBIS in Secure Care?
 Effective
and efficient alternative to harsh,
inconsistent, and ineffective disciplinary
methods in many juvenile justice facilities
punishment mentality,
inconsistency among staff
 Decisions
about discipline not linked to data
on youth behavior
Status of PBIS in JJ Settings
 Two
large initiatives
Texas PBIS statewide project to implement SWPBIS in
each long-term secure facility
IES grant in facilities in Arizona, California, Georgia,
and Oregon
 Other
 Many
states interested
facilities state they are using PBIS – not clear
if accurate or across tiers
 Limited empirical data on implementation
 This group is in the process of a national survey of
all juvenile justice and alternative education
settings on PBIS implementation
Issues with Extension and Possible
 We
have collectively faced common
issues and questions when attempting to
extend PBIS into JJ settings which will be
 We offer possible solutions to these
common issues
Missions of Safety and Security
 Primary
mission of JJ settings is the safety
and security of its youth, staff, and visitors
24/7 in all facility environments
 For example –
‘right to live in a safe, orderly environment’
‘value the safety of the youth in our care’
‘protect the community’
Missions of Safety and Security
 Questions
related to how PBIS and
safety/security mission have arisen
Does PBIS weaken/threaten safety/security?
Does PBIS undermine staff authority?
Does PBIS remove all consequences?
Does PBIS put the youth ‘in charge’?
Missions of Safety and Security
 Common
language – safety, predictability,
consistency, and positivity
 Unified with consistent language/values –
common set of expectations for all youth and
 Clarifies and reduces need for consequences
per facility procedures
 Fewer behavioral incidents
 Higher staff satisfaction
 Data used to make decisions
Incentive Programs versus
Contingent Reinforcement
 Linked
to safety and security concerns
 Questions about youth and staff reinforcement
in facility-wide PBIS
How is this different from our level systems?
What is the difference between our incentive
programs and PBIS reinforcement?
Incentives/reinforcement same thing – it’s a
safety and security concern
 Hoarding
of treats
 Stealing/bartering of treats
 Great hiding place for contraband
Incentive Programs versus
Contingent Reinforcement
 Links
youth and staff behavior to specific
reinforcement per FW-PBIS expectations ->
 Clarifies what youth truly need secondary-tier level
systems -> promotes efficiency and effectiveness
 Reinforcement purposeful and planned ->
predictable and fairly given
 Reinforcement consumable by youth who earned it
Through supervision
Through variety of privileges, activities,
status/recognition, praise, tangibles
Transient Youth and Staff Populations
 Questions
related to contextual variable
of transciency of entire population
How will new staff know what to do?
How will new youth know how to behave?
Youth are not here long enough for change
to happen so why should we do this?
Transient Youth and Staff Populations
 Broad
PBIS content in new staff training -> rest is
‘on the job’ for unique FW-PBIS per facility
 Embed FW-PBIS plan content in youth intake
 Teaching, modeling, and reinforcing expected,
positive behavior will promote positive youth
behavior while IN facility and AFTER
 Use of a coaching model would assist in
Revolving Door of Initiatives Impairs
Clarity, Efficiency and Efficacy
 AE
programs suffer from a “revolving
door” of initiatives based on sometimes
differing and sometimes coordinated
theories and research traditions
Criminality/delinquency theories
 Most
programs are a loosely coordinated
“mashup” resulting in low implementation
Differing Views on ‘Tiered” Approaches
 View
1: Children and youth in AE
programs are all “tier III”
 View 2: The public health model provides
a multi-tiered structure to select,
coordinate, and integrate evidencebased interventions and practices to
address the range of needs of those who
present with (in different proportions)
various risk factors, health problems, and
problem behaviors
(Eddy et al., 2002; Stewart, Benner, Martella,
& Marchland-Martella, 2007;H. M. Walker et
al., 1996).
Integrated models can
 Integrated
models of prevention and
treatment, which consist of multiple
independent strategies or programs
merged into a single intervention, have
the potential to address some of the
significant challenges facing juvenile
justice programs in a way that does not
compromise integrity.
Best Practices Overlap
Assess risks & needs
Enhance Intrinsic
Target Interventions
Skill train With Directed
Increase positive
Engage Ongoing
Support in Natural
Measure relevant
Provide Measurement
Early Identification
Reinforcement system
Continuum of supports
Explicit instruction &
practice in social
Reinforcement system
Climate of preventative
/ positive, parent
Data based decisionmaking
Data sharing
Implementing Positive Behavior
Supports in Juvenile Corrections
 Our
job is to collaborate with line, supervisory,
treatment and education staff members and
administrators to make sure we understand:
How the PBIS framework aligns with current systems
and practices
 Contextual
factors (24/7 nature of setting, intensity &
complexity of youth needs, what staff need to feel
successful, etc.)
 We
are assessing the feasibility, intent to use, and
social validity of the materials and procedures
Jeffrey Sprague, Ph.D.
PBIS Approach
PBIS approach has had a large degree of success in
school settings, alternative education settings, and with
youth with high levels of need
Prevents problem behaviors
Increases positive behaviors (social and academic)
We believe the PBIS framework will help:
Enhance the day to day operations in the facility
(education, corrections, mental health), staff member
satisfaction, and youth outcomes
Alignment, of procedures, efficiency, & tools for measuring
implementation fidelity and effectiveness
Validate the practices already in place
Jeffrey Sprague, Ph.D.
PBIS Approach
 Strengths:
 Clarifies
 Provides structure for youth and staff members
 Data based decision making increases
accountability and protects youth
 Weaknesses:
 Often mistaken for it’s parts and not as the whole
 May be viewed as competing with other models
or programs
 The proactive / preventative nature may be
perceived as incongruent with Juvenile Justice
practices (e.g., corrections)
Fidelity of Implementation of PBIS
JJ Organizational Hierarchies
 Organizational
Complicated, changing
Possibly competing goals of education,
security, treatment
Changing leadership and direction/mission
Budgetary constraints
 Systems
Frequent changes in direction and priorities
(security vs. treatment, security vs.
Facility-wide change vs. education-only
 Raw
data – necessity and difficulties
Raw vs. pre-aggregated
 Data
 Data accuracy/integrity
Unintentional inaccuracy
Intentional inaccuracy
 Data
analysis and level of aggregation
Aggregated by facility or time ignores
individual youth variability
Individual youth variability extremely
complex because of high youth turnover
Next Steps for PBIS in JJ Settings
 Determine
scope of implementation—
national survey
 Establish network
 Measure, evaluate impact
Reliable, valid measures of behavior
Comparison studies
 Social
Thank You
 Kristine
 Jeff
Jolivette – [email protected]
Sprague – [email protected]
 Brenda
 Mike
Scheuermann – [email protected]
Nelson – [email protected]
 Eugene
Wang – [email protected]

The Status of PBIS in Secure Juvenile Justice Settings and Next