PBIS in Juvenile Corrections

October 27, 2016, The IRIS Center

Jeffrey Sprague, Director of the University of Oregon’s Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, talks about some of the differences and similarities in implementing PBIS in schools and in juvenile corrections facilities (time: 5:26).

Question asked of Jeffrey Sprague in this audio:

Dr. Sprague, what are the primary differences between PBIS in a school setting and a juvenile corrections setting?

Jeffrey Sprague

Jeffrey Sprague, PhD
Professor of Special Education, Director of the University of Oregon
Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, University of Oregon

Transcript: Jeffrey Sprague, PhD

Jeffrey Sprague, Director of the University of Oregon’s Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, talks about some of the differences and similarities in implementing PBIS in schools and in juvenile corrections facilities (time: 5:26).

Narrator: This interview is brought to you by the IRIS Center, a national center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs.

Jeffrey Sprague, Director of the University of Oregon’s Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, talks about some of the differences and similarities in implementing PBIS in schools and in juvenile corrections facilities.

Dr. Sprague, what are the primary differences between PBIS in a school setting and a juvenile corrections setting?

In what we call facility wide PBIS in the juvenile correction settings, there’s actually quite a lot of commonality in terms of the content that’s presented and the recommendation to have a facility level team, setting common expectations, and how those are communicated across settings, focus on the data and reviewing data routinely, having a consistent plan of implementation. Where the variation comes, really, is in additional content. For example, in a school we would ask for the building administrator to be a member. In a juvenile facility, we need both the facility administrator on the corrections side as well as the school side represented at the table in that leadership group.

Similarly, in a school we would have a representative group of educators and other staff members such as paraprofessionals, and we also advocate for a parent. In a facility, you have multiple additional roles. In addition to school people, we’d also be looking for corrections personnel, mental health personnel, and even health and safety personnel represented. So, largely, the planning and leadership committee is going to have a broader representation that we would see in a school, and then the content also would be more broadly spread across all the settings in that facility.

Another difference: Safety and security will be front-and-center in a juvenile corrections setting. In a PBIS school, they might put up a rule poster: “Be safe. Be respectful. Be responsible.” In juvenile correction settings in some states, because of safety for example, there are expectations and regulations about what could be hung on the walls. So they have to paint their rule posters on the walls. Also, reinforcement systems at a school might give out, for example, a good-behavior token or ticket. In a juvenile correction setting, sometimes those materials can be used as contrabands for bartering. And so just the physical management of an incentive system with that kind of security in mind.

The basic frame is that the practices at tier 1 are largely rolled out in the same manner. But the actual features of the tools used might be modified to reflect those security concerns that may arise in secure settings. In those facilities, they tend to have really quite a mélange of interventions that wouldn’t be found in a typical school. For example, mental health treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, case management, access to legal services, and things like that. In a school, a commonly advocated and adopted tier two intervention is an approach called “check in, check out” where a youth may carry a point card. They’re regularly checking in with adults about their progress in a school that would be done only with that selected group of young people at tier 2, and it may be intensified at tier 3.

In a juvenile facility, we’ve seen that tier 2 intervention adopted as an a universal or tier 1 intervention. What we’ve been doing is working with facilities to individualize and intensify as needed for an individual that “check in, check out” system. We’ve taken a tier 2 support and moved it down into universal.

Another piece we see in schools is some young people get access to more intensive social skills teaching such as an SEL program. In a juvenile facility, that tends to be presented facility wide. Again, what would typically be a tier 2, more intensive support in a school becomes more universal in facilities. Now when we move up to tier 3, this is where you start to see this huge menu of intervention. So these are youth who have substance-abuse problems, mental health challenges. So specialized mental health and social work services become the tier 3 supports.

Narrator: Thank you for listening to this episode of the IRIS Center podcast. For more information about the IRIS Center and its resources, visit us at www.iriscenter.com [https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/].

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