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JULY 21, 2011: Peg's Blogs on Hiatus...

As many friends and regular readers know, I've been dealing with a lot in my personal life, lately, while my workload has continued to grow. Rest assured that I'm in the best of company, and getting by with a little help from my friends. Still, I need to take a break and focus on centering myself. That means this site will be neglected even more than it has been.

Until I'm able to get a grip on blogging regularly and thoughtfully again here (or until someone else steps in to anchor the site), I encourage people to check out Carl Toersbijns' blog (he's a former Deputy Warden for the AZ Department of Corrections, and while not an abolitionist, he's a strong advocate for the prisoners with mental illness, and for broad-based prison reform in AZ). You may also want to drop in on Middle Ground Prison Reform's site for news.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Salt River Juvenile Justice: Diverting Our Native Teens

When I originally posted this article I expressed my skepticism about the appropriateness of a corrections department getting prevention money that could otherwise be used for books and teachers and substance abuse treatment - which might just reduce the need for a law enforcement presence in the schools and state prisons for children. I also suggested that the article below was biased in favor of the DON'T program it describes because of the authors' respective roles with it.

I didn't explore the article any deeper than that, though, and having given it only a superficial read at the time, at best, I owe these folks an apology. I'm not at all down with the Scared Straight model of working with juvenile addicts and other offenders. I also still think it's a mistake to tax our food to pay for law enforcement agents to fulfill the role of civilian social workers in schools and on the streets. In doing so, we divert precious resources from high-risk communities to monstrous state institutions while allowing local after-school programs to be gutted and teachers to be fired, all the while feeding that school to prison pipeline.

Nevertheless, I think these guys are on the right track by aspiring to reduce the incarceration and recidivism rates among indigenous youth through evidence-based practice and diversion efforts instead of just planning to add more facilities to warehouse them in.
I'm impressed with the Salt River Department of Corrections, their probation department, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, that they can think outside the box. All have taken some political risks to treat criminalized youth and their families more holistically than the rest of the system does - they really deserve some credit for that.

Given that we reside in one of the most punitive and cruel states in the country, this model being tested out is fairly progressive. It's evidence-based, not fear-based, and it positions the responsibility for rehabilitating most youth back in the families and communities they came from, rather than in archaic state penal institutions.

It's refreshing to find people in corrections who really want to put themselves out of business. Ironically, while the Salt River DOC is trying to de-institutionalize and de-criminalize their people, the Arizona Department of Corrections is planning a major expansion over the next few years, having invested their resources in lobbying for more stringent penalties and sentencing guidelines - and of course more prisons - instead of putting their billion dollar budget where it might actually prevent more crime.

Drug rehabilitation, affordable supported housing, and effective mental health treatment programs could easily eliminate the need for 5000 new beds behind bars - as could the sentencing reform that Representative Cecil Ash has been working on in the AZ state legislature. The ADC, however, isn't about to lead that charge - Director Chuck Ryan is clearly too invested in the status quo.

As for the AZ Department of Juvenile Corrections under new director Charles Flanagan: I don't see him driving many progressive reforms in juvenile justice either. I think Governor Brewer just brought him in to be her hatchet man and dismantle the agency, sending young prisoners back to their respective (and mostly broke) counties to bear the weight of incarcerating (and hopefully rehabilitating them) in local facilities.

Anyway, this is a good article, though it lacks some details. For more information on Diverting our Native Teens (DON'T), contact William Daly at the Salt River Department of Corrections at 480-362-7299, or by snail mail at 10005 E. Osborn Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85256

Thanks to the reader out there who convinced me that I needed to take another look at this program...


During, After and Before…?
By William Daly , CPM, CCE, CJM, & James Short, M.S.C.J
Published: 08/29/2011

Normally the phrase that is used to describe a particular sequence of events is “before, during and after”. Most departments and organizations invoke this “before, during and after” philosophy to provide a balanced approach to their work and to ultimately reach their departmental and organizational goals. Conversely, corrections and detention departments have always operated in their own, rather unique, sequence. With correctional staff working every minute of every shift in a world that is surrounded by the walls of the secure care facility, it is no wonder that corrections departments have focused primarily on the “During” portion of this sequence.

Nearly every secure care facility in the free world faces the same dilemma of choosing which programs and services will be the most effective “During” inmate incarceration. This particular dilemma is prevalent in all secure care facilities, large or small, regardless of population or location.

External pressure also plays a role in the operation of a correctional facility. One school of thought believes that investing in programs will prevent inmates from a life of recidivism, thereby reducing costs to taxpayers and creating a more positive community. There is also the school of thought that stanchly supports the idea that incarceration should be punitive and that we should just lock them up and throw away the key. Regardless of which way or how far the correctional pendulum swings, this debate will continue to exist.

Recently the discussions about the “After” phase and the sequence and the ideology surrounding the concept of re-entry have made its way front and center in the correctional conversation. Administrators are continuously looking for evidence based programs that will change behavior and assist in preventing a return to incarceration. As we all know there are many different variables when it comes to the re-entry process, including substance abuse, mental health, financial resources, employment and other stakeholders. Academics, politicians, public safety administrators and the general public are now focusing much of their attention on the re-entry process in the hope that it can quell what appears to be a vicious and endless cycle of recidivism.

For the purpose of this discussion we will focus our attention on the “Before” phase of incarceration. The question that is being posed is whether or not this is a phase of the sequence that a corrections department should be responsible for, concerned about or even delve into. Is it corrections job to simply provide care, custody and control for the “During” phase of the sequence or do they have the responsibility to participate in the “Before” and “After” phases as well? From my experience I understand that most corrections agencies, facilities and administrators have their hands full simply trying to managing the day to day issues that arise inside the walls of their correctional facilities. But what if a department had the financial resources, staff and facility to provide assistance and truly have an impact on the re-entry process?

The Salt River Department of Corrections in cooperation with The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale has decided to once again join forces and test this unorthodox approach to prevention. Those of us in this business remember the days of “scared straight”. Despite its early popularity and now the debate in regards to its effectiveness, we are making another run of it but with a twist of our own.

Our program is the culmination of a number of programs and ideas such as scared straight, drug court, diversion as well as a number of other youth development curricula. It is our belief that "Effective Intervention" is the key to diverting the community youth away from a life of criminality and delinquent behavior. Research has shown that prevention and intervention programs, such as this one, can have a substantial impact on the number of youth entering the jail system or re-offending and becoming recidivists.

The DON’T Program stands for Diverting Our Native Teens. This program is a collaborative effort on the part of the Salt River Department of Corrections, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and the Salt River Probation Department. This program provides community youth, that are in the early stages of the juvenile justice system, an opportunity to find an alternative path to incarceration and the ability to become successful, contributing members of the community. This program focuses on goal setting, financial literacy, career exploration, substance abuse awareness, positive choices, culture and relationships. The overall goal of this program is to provide these at risk teens the social tools that are necessary to make positive choices, become productive citizens and divert them from becoming further involved in the justice system.

Although many of our participants come from dysfunctional or nontraditional families, we encourage the families to be involved in the process and to participate in the program with their children. Many of the parents that we work with don’t have the skills or knowledge to help their children and believe that they are doing their job by merely dropping their sons and daughters off at the program and hoping that someone else will produce positive results We try to emphasize to these parents that they are a key component in this process and the success of their children lies in their participation and support.

The final and most important component is the tracking of the youth’s performance and recidivism after they have successfully completed the program. As much as we like to throw out concepts and ideas, we cannot truly show the impact of the program and the success of the youth without raw data and true statistics.

The 80’ and 90’s set the stage for a huge shift in the mentality of corrections departments across the country. This paradigm shift changed the focus of corrections from a treatment driven model to a much more punitive approach. Not only did this affect the operations in the adult system but, unfortunately, this mentality ultimately filtered down to the juvenile system as well. Thankfully it appears that the pendulum is quickly swinging back towards the direction of rehabilitation. At Salt River we consistently strive to be ahead of the pendulum.

Can a corrections department move outside its comfort zone and provide services outside of the facility that will have a direct impact on incarceration and recidivism rates? Can a corrections department delve into the “Before” phase of incarceration and truly make a difference for generations to come? Only time will tell. I contend that corrections, as an industry, cannot afford to dismiss any alternatives to incarceration. We must always be looking for new ideas and programs that can assist with lowering incarceration rates and helping people become productive members of society, even if those programs don’t fall directly inside the walls of the facility.

Editors note: author, William Daly, CPM, CCE, CJM is a veteran in the field of Corrections, entering his 25th year. Daly is a retired Captain from the New York City Department of Correction and Currently the Acting Director of the Salt River Department of Correction, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Co-Author James Short, M.S.C.J. is the Director of Correctional Programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flanagan: The closing of Catalina.

An editorial to the AZ Daily Star from the Director of the Department of Juvenile Corrections...


Catalina facility's closure, move ultimately will serve troubled youths better

Arizona Daily Star 8/23/2011

by Charles Flanagan

"The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy."

- Alfred North Whitehead

While the vast majority of Arizona's youths never have problems with criminal conduct, some do. There are many factors that can often derail these young people on the path to adulthood, leading them toward self-destructive behavior. The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections believes that rehabilitation, treatment, education and positive enforcement are the most effective avenues for getting our young people back on the right track to live happy, safe and productive lives. I firmly believe in the agency's vision: "Safer Communities Through Successful Youth."

As the new director for the department, one of my goals is to provide troubled youths with the best resources possible in order to turn their lives around. As part of this charge, I am making some changes to more effectively serve the entire state and provide the widest possible range of services to each of the youths in our custody so that we can successfully reintegrate them into our shared communities. Most prominent among these changes is the planned closure of Catalina Mountain School in Pima County.

By the end of September, the 70-74 youths currently at Catalina Mountain will be transferred to the Department's Adobe Mountain/Black Canyon complex in Maricopa County. This relocation will accomplish several goals. It allows the department to close its most outdated unit (Catalina Mountain was built in 1967); takes advantage of efficiencies by consolidating youths and services at a single complex; and makes available the state's full range of programs and treatment options to every child in the state's custody and care.

The goal of this plan is to provide a concentration of all resources and services on a single campus, making available specialized treatment for substance abuse, mental health concerns and sex offenders. Currently, specialized treatment for mental health issues and sex offenders is not available at Catalina Mountain School, which also houses only male youths. Consolidation also will allow the department to add a Skills-4-Work program to the Adobe Mountain School, enabling youths to learn trades associated with culinary arts, cosmetology, building trades, sewing, fire science, working with wildlife and other technical careers.

The consolidation of youths, staff and programs to a single complex will result in estimated cost savings to the state of nearly $1.5 million in fiscal 2012 and $3.8 million in fiscal 2013. In fact, we anticipate a savings of approximately $100 per youth, per day, by combining operations rather than maintaining the Catalina Mountain School.

I understand this closure and relocation will result in disruption for some department staffers and families of youths in custody. The department's goal is to employ or facilitate the employment of the majority of Catalina Mountain School employees. The concentration of staff at one facility will enhance coverage for youths in crisis and provide a larger, more professionally diverse staff with expertise in a range of areas.

Additionally, the department will make available video visitation in Tucson for families of youths from Southeastern Arizona who are relocated to the Adobe Mountain/Black Canyon complex. The department also will maintain the area's parole services, private-sector service providers and community service activities, and is exploring the establishment of halfway houses.

The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections takes seriously its mission to positively impact the thought process and behavior pattern of youths in its custody. I believe the consolidation of services and programs to our Adobe Mountain/Black Canyon complex will help us perform that mission more effectively and efficiently.

By joining together in this effort, we have the tremendous opportunity to provide a positive outcome for troubled youths.

Charles Flanagan is director of the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

AzDJC's Flanagan closes Catalina Mountain School

Sorry to be so slow with this, folks...I'm still on hiatus.

Tucson's Catalina Mountain School for troubled youths to close

AZ Daily Star

July 12, 2011

The state will close the Catalina Mountain School on North Oracle Road by Oct. 1, the director of the Department of Juvenile Corrections said Thursday.

Director Charles Flanagan said it isn't sound fiscal or correctional practice to operate the Tucson school plus two others just north of Phoenix.

Catalina Mountain School will stop admitting kids "in about a week," Flanagan said.

He told employees about the closure at a meeting early Thursday afternoon.

The shutdown will save the state nearly $1.5 million this fiscal year and $3.8 million in 2013, he said.

The 74 males at the 124-bed Tucson school will be moved to Black Canyon and Adobe Mountain, which are operated as one facility.

The Tucson school is the one closing for several reasons, he said, including:

• All girls and juveniles who are sex offenders or need mental-health treatment are already sent to the Phoenix facilities.

• Tucson doesn't have as many career-training programs, and fewer options for moving and managing boys who have behavioral problems during their incarceration.

• Youths now at Catalina Mountain will have better access to programs for substance dependence. Flanagan said 90 percent of the kids have substance use histories and roughly 60 percent are substance-dependent.

a "huge loss"

Pima County Juvenile Court officials were surprised by the announcement.

While the court does not send a lot of children to the facility, officials said the move could be a detriment to youths who won't have direct access to family and friends.

Judge Karen Adam, who presides over Pima County Juvenile Court, described the facility's closure as a "huge loss."

It's important to place youths in their community because they can receive visits from friends and family, and it's easier for them to reintegrate to society, Adam said.

Juvenile Court Director Rik Schmidt echoed Adam's concerns.

Flanagan, the state's Juvenile Corrections director, agreed that a downside to the closure is that some kids will be farther away from family.

However, he said, only 15 percent of the youths receive family visits at least once every two weeks. Only 30 percent of the boys at Catalina Mountain are ever visited by relatives, he added.

Juvenile Corrections will set up a video visitation system to ease the burden of families driving to Maricopa County.

The department will move its parole office to central Tucson.

About a quarter of the boys at Catalina Mountain are from Pima County, with 15 percent from Cochise. Many of the rest will actually be closer to their homes once they move. They were sent to Tucson to keep the head count up.

The average stay in the state juvenile system is about seven months, but it is about three months at Catalina Mountain.

Most are in the system for property crimes.

There are between 30 and 40 Pima County juveniles in the state's three facilities, said Pima County's Schmidt. The number committed there has decreased over the years. In 2010, Pima's Juvenile Court sent 61 juveniles to state facilities. About five years ago, it sent more than 100, he said.

employee, volunteer losses

Besides the relocation of the detained youths, the loss of employees and 119 volunteers are the other downsides to Catalina Mountain's closure, Flanagan said.

"These people are committed to this profession," he said. "These are good, good people."

He said he hopes to find places for the volunteers in community corrections and parole services.

Some of the 124 Tucson employees will be offered the 68 jobs to be added at the Phoenix schools, he said. Transfer offers will be based on state employment rules, and he estimated about 30 will end up working in Phoenix.

Six employees will remain to provide security at the Tucson campus through the end of the department's lease next June 30.

The state owns the buildings on land leased from the state Land Department. That department will decide whether to sell the property or lease it to someone else.

The Phoenix schools have about 330 youths and about 270 vacant beds.

In the last fiscal year, it cost $132,218 to house a child at Catalina Mountain, compared with $95,765 at the Phoenix schools.

"That's still too high in our estimation," Flanagan said of Phoenix, although he said there is no national standard for juvenile costs because state laws differ. Arizona juvenile corrections houses kids up to age 18, while in some states it's longer.


Catalina Mountain School, at 14500 N. Oracle Road, was built in the late 1960s, and is the oldest of the state's three juvenile centers, said Department of Juvenile Corrections Director Charles Flanagan.