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JUVENILE DETENTION
PROGRESS REPORT - 8/2/99

 

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ACTION 1: On February 4, 1999, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) received an anonymous complaint and allegations concerning abuse and neglect of detainees at the New Haven Detention Center.

Reported June 23, 1999:

On February 24, 1999, DCF notified the Judicial Branch that they were conducting an investigation regarding allegations of abuse at the New Haven Detention Center.

On February 26, 1999, Judicial Branch representatives informed State’s Attorney Michael Dearington of the investigation; Mr. Dearington contacted the State Police.

In concert with DCF, the Judicial Branch implemented a safety plan at the Detention Center requiring a high supervisory level employee to monitor the center’s operations from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

On April 29, 1999, the New Haven Detention Center Supervisor was reassigned; Leo Arnone, Supervisor of Hartford Detention, was assigned to New Haven Juvenile Detention Center effective on May 4, 1999.

ACTION 2: On June 2, 1999, DCF delivered the Special Investigation Unit Report to Judicial Branch representatives, charging 19 employees with physical abuse and neglect.

Reported June 23, 1999:

On June 2, 1999, Judicial Branch representatives contacted State’s Attorney Michael Dearington and forwarded the DCF Report to him.

On June 7, 1999, the Judicial Branch requested and received agreement from the Office of the Child Advocate to serve as a monitor at the New Haven Detention Center site.

On June 8, 1999, the Judicial Branch placed 8 employees (charged with physical abuse) on suspension pending completion of an internal investigation. Nine others (charged with physical neglect) were informed that they are the subject of an internal investigation. Two employees have resigned.

ACTION 3: Investigate all allegations contained in the DCF report.

Reported June 23, 1999:

After numerous meetings with Court Support Services Division (CSSD) staff and discussions with Judicial Branch managers, a process to conduct the investigation was developed.

Reported July 19, 1999

An employee (suspended for physical abuse on June 7, 1999) was terminated on July 19, 1999, for failure to successfully complete the probationary period for attainment of permanent status.

NEW:

Attorney Glenn Coe continues to investigate the allegations in the DCF report.

ACTION 4: Conduct a review of all detention supervisory and direct care staff job descriptions.

Reported June 23, 1999:

A working group was established to review job descriptions, duties and qualifications. A comparison with other states will be conducted.

Reported July 19, 1999:

The review of job descriptions has been completed and is currently being reviewed and evaluated by the Human Resources Management Unit of the Judicial Branch. The new job descriptions will be further reviewed by the team of experts, coming at our request, from the U.S. Department of Justice in September 1999.

NEW:

The evaluation process has begun for the new job series as outlined above.

ACTION 5: Enhance the direct supervision of detention line staff.

Reported July 19, 1999:

An interim staff enhancement plan was completed. Its goal is to ensure adequate supervisory, social work, and detention staff on all shifts. It requires the filling of 18 vacancies in juvenile detention and the creation of 30 new positions.

These positions have been advertised. The closing date for acceptance of applications is August 16, 1999.

ACTION 6: Improve employee screening and selection procedures for juvenile detention.

Reported June 23, 1999:

Recently the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) completed a study on the screening of persons working with children. A request was made to the Administrator of OJJDP to provide us with technical assistance to redesign our screening and selection procedures.

Reported July 19, 1999:

Effective July 6, 1999, the DCF Child Abuse Registry was added to our screening process for prospective hires for all juvenile detention positions. This is in addition to a physical exam, a drug screening test and a criminal history record check.

ACTION 7: Conduct additional targeted training for detention staff in New Haven.

Reported June 23, 1999:

Judicial Branch officials met with representatives from Educational Training Programs Incorporated (ETP) to discuss immediate training needs for the New Haven juvenile detention staff and to determine the content of the training. All New Haven staff will receive a minimum of two days of training on techniques for managing youth with emotional or cognitive disabilities.

Reported July 19, 1999:

At our request, ETP has developed a training course outline designed to meet the needs of the New Haven Detention Center.

At our request, Lindsay Hayes, Project Director of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, will conduct a review of our suicide prevention policy and training program.

We have completed a review of existing mental health services contracts, which include the requirement that they train other detention staff who deal with juveniles with mental health problems.

At our request, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Strategic Leadership Center offered assistance in training. DAS will partner with our training coordinator to identify needs and resources.

NEW:

Education and Training Program (ETP) special training sessions for staff at the New Haven Juvenile Detention Center began Tuesday, July 27, 1999 and will continue for 6 weeks. Topics include; (1) From Policy to Practice, (2) Communication and Conflict Resolution, and (3) Developmental Stages of Juveniles.

All New Haven Detention Center employees have completed a policy and procedure review program with Interim Supervisor, Leo Arnone.

ACTION 8: Complete this years In-Service Training Program for all detention staff.

Reported June 23, 1999:

Presently all juvenile detention staff are completing their yearly 40 hours of mandatory training. This training, which began in April, includes medication administration and refresher training on suicide prevention, which were areas of concern in the DCF report.

Reported July 19, 1999:

In-service training continues at the New Haven Detention Center and will continue to run concurrently with the ETP special training.

NEW:

In-service training in New Haven was completed on Friday, July 23, 1999.

ACTION 9: Improve detention living conditions and increase available space.

Reported June 23, 1999:

The first meeting with the architects to design the new Hartford Detention Center was held this week. The importance of this project to the Branch was emphasized and an aggressive schedule for its completion is being developed.

In Bridgeport, as an interim step, we have met and are pursuing the potential conversion of the present Juvenile Court (Clerk’s Office, Courtroom) to detention support space.

Various state and local agencies were contacted to identify potential space that might be suitable for use as a detention center.

The Judicial Branch awarded a contract to upgrade the heating and air conditioning system at the New Haven Detention Center to be completed in September 1999.

Since many physical and programmatic enhancements needed at state detention centers are presently unbudgeted, a search was been initiated to identify new sources of funds to support the cost of these improvements.

Reported July 19, 1999:

Options have been reviewed to develop girls’ beds in secure physical facilities. Ten girl’s beds have opened in Hamden; ten beds in will open in Norwalk next week; and ten beds will be available in Hartford in October 1999.

Judge Leuba wrote to the heads of several state agencies requesting assistance in locating space for new secure detention centers.

NEW:

OPM has approved funding, as of October 15, 1999, for 10 additional girls’ beds in Hartford. Four beds will open in Hamden as soon as practicable. Community Solutions, Inc. has completed their training and has opened 10 beds in Norwalk. These additions will bring the number of secure juvenile detention beds for girls to 44.

A comprehensive checklist of basic supply needs for juveniles was developed and forwarded to each facility for completion.

Significant work has been completed to develop program specifications for the new Bridgeport facility. Both new facilities in Hartford and Bridgeport are in the design phase.

ACTION 10: Compare Connecticut’s detention program with recognized national standards and other states.

Reported June 23, 1999:

Utilizing the American Corrections Association’s National Juvenile Detention Standards, along with the detention operation recommendations from OJJDP’s Detention Conditions of Confinement Study, a comparative analysis of our detention centers is being conducted.

Reported July 19, 1999:

Review continues on various juvenile justice standards that have been published. Contacts have been made with benchmark programs from which we are seeking advice and counsel.

NEW:

OPM forwarded our request for technical assistance to OJJDP. We requested Dr. David Roush to provide recommendations on hiring practices and training, to compare Connecticut Juvenile Detention Centers standards and practices with ACA standards, and review other programming.

Through the National Center for Juvenile Justice, Joseph K. Mullen was identified and recommended for evaluating training programs for staff of juvenile detention centers. We have requested his assistance in our request for technical assistance to the OJJDP.

CSSD staff met with Sarina Roffé of the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice, Office of Public Affairs on July 23, 1999. We toured the new juvenile detention facility in the Bronx and met with Stephanie Prussack, Director of Horizons Juvenile Detention Center.

ACTION 11: Increase independent monitoring at the New Haven Detention Center.

Reported June 23, 1999:

In addition to federal court monitoring that has been occurring in accordance with the consent judgment, we have contracted with the Office of the Child Advocate to provide 25 hours a week of on-site monitoring at the New Haven Detention Center. A monitor has been selected and will start June 21, 1999.

Reported July 19, 1999:

At our request, Mr. Tom Moriarty, hired as the Independent Monitor by the Office of the Child Advocate, has been on site at the New Haven Detention Center since June 21, 1999. In his first report, covering June 28 – July 4, he indicated, "I observed no behaviors that I would consider verbally or physically abusive."

At his suggestion, we will record in the detainee discipline log the actual time a child is released from room confinement.

The monitor points out some deficiencies in the area of medicine administration. We are investigating the cost and feasibility of contracting out all medicine administration.

Mr. Moriarty commented that DCF should be asked to provide training with respect to the mandated reporter law and a letter has been sent to Commissioner Kristine Ragaglia requesting the above.

ACTION 12: Establish a committee to address detention overcrowding.

Reported June 23, 1999:

The committee members have been appointed and the Attorney General’s Office is in the process of modifying the consent judgment to include the facilitation of this committee by the federal court monitor Don DeVore. A committee work plan has been developed and the first meeting is planned for early next month.

Reported July 19, 1999:

The first meeting of the Juvenile Detention Overcrowding Committee, chaired by Judge John Ronan, Deputy Chief Court Administrator, met July 15, 1999. Representatives from the Chief Court Administrator’s office, the Office of the State’s Attorney, the Office of the Public Defender, the Attorney General’s Office, the Chief Administrative Judge for Juvenile, other juvenile judges, members of CSSD, the Federal Monitor, DCF, and OPM were present. Additional members to be invited are two members of the Legislature, and the State Department of Education.

At the first meeting, a presentation was made by Tom White, Director of CSSD Operations, who reviewed facilities, juvenile profile statistics, current programs and services. Don DeVore reviewed his involvement with the State of Connecticut and the terms and conditions of the Court Consent Decree. The next meeting agenda includes presentations from Don DeVore on the use and purpose of Juvenile Detention; national initiatives to reduce detention crowding; risk assessment as a guide to placement in detention; case processing to improve efficiency; and implementation and monitoring recommendations. Bill Carbone, Executive Director, CSSD, will present alternatives to placement in detention. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 25, 1999.

ACTION 13: Enhance medical and mental health services.

Reported July 19, 1999:

We have consulted with Dr. Walter Anyan, head of Adolescent Medicine at Yale and Dr. Donald Cohen, Director of Yale Child Study Center, who provide and supervise medical and psychiatric services at the New Haven Detention Center. Each is prepared to offer increased hours in the short run and is reviewing longer-term systemic changes. We expect to receive a proposal from Yale Child Study Center within the next two weeks, which will allow Yale Child Study Center to provide medication to detainees three times per day, seven days per week.

All providers of mental health services at the detention centers have been contacted; budgets have been requested to increase the services they provide at each site.

NEW:

Arrangements have been made to increase psychiatric care in the New Haven and Bridgeport facilities to begin immediately. Similar arrangements will be made in Hartford upon the psychiatrist’s return from vacation.

In response to our inquiry, the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Psychiatric Institute each submitted a proposal this week to enhance contracted services to the New Haven Juvenile Detention Center in the long term. Services proposed include group therapy and therapeutic interventions for detainees during evening hours. Enhanced training is proposed to prepare detention staff to work more effectively together and with outside consultants in maintaining order and safety; decreasing negative psychological effects on children while detained, and providing options for responding to the mental health needs of detainees. Both proposals will be further reviewed by September, 1999.

We continue to work with Dr. Walter Anyan, head of Adolescent Medicine at Yale, who is developing a model for outsourcing medication dissemination. Upon completion, we will be meeting with Bridgeport and Hartford to propose this as a model. We are planning implementation in all three centers as of September 1, 1999.

ACTION 14: Enhance other detention programming.

Reported July 19, 1999:

We are reviewing activity schedules at each detention center with special regard to the hours between 2pm and 8pm.

Educationally, we are investigating the possibilities of incorporating year round school and of starting school earlier in the detention cycle.

At our request, ETP, a private consulting firm, is conducting an educational standards audit in all three state-run detention centers, with specific concentration on New Haven, which will be completed by August 30, 1999. The study will review policy and practice and make a series of recommendations.

We are reviewing programmatic options for an Ombudsman Program and will develop a model in the next two weeks.

NEW:

A proposal has been accepted for immediate implementation to increase recreation activities in New Haven during the summer. We are exploring the option of providing enhanced recreational services year round in all three facilities.

A member of the Ombudsman Association has submitted a proposal for an Ombudsman program. The proposal will be reviewed this week.

On Thursday, July 29, we met with representatives of the Wheeler Clinic. We explored options for a therapeutic treatment program for adolescents with psychiatric service needs. We will further explore contracted school options.

Education and Training Program (ETP) has agreed to extend his contract with CSSD for Educational Services Evaluation to include the three detention centers, beginning with the New Haven facility.

ACTION 15: Explore funding sources to support detention improvements.

Reported July 19, 1999:

At our request, OPM staff have joined our weekly Judicial work group established by Judge Leuba to recommend a comprehensive set of improvements in the detention center.

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