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JUVENILE DETENTION
PROGRESS REPORT - 7/21/99

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ACTION 1: On February 4, 1999, DCF Received Anonymous Complaint And Allegations Concerning Abuse And Neglect of Detainees At The New Haven Detention Center.

PAST STATUS:

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 informs State’s Attorney Michael Dearington of the investigation; Mr. Dearington contacts the State Police.

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

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

PRESENT STATUS:

No change.

ACTION 2: On June 2, 1999, DCF Delivers Special Investigation Unit Report To Judicial, Charging 19 Employees With Physical Abuse and Neglect.

PAST STATUS:

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

On June 7, 1999, Judicial requests and receives agreement from the Office of The Child Advocate to serve as monitor at the New Haven Detention Center site.

On June 8, 1999, Judicial places 8 employees (charged with physical abuse) on suspension pending completion of an internal investigation. Nine others (charged with physical neglect) also subject to internal investigation. Two employees resigned.

PRESENT STATUS:

No change.

ACTION 3: Investigate All Allegations Contained In The DCF Report.

PAST STATUS:

After numerous meetings with CSSD staff and discussions with Tom Siconolfi, Bob Coffey and Bill Risley, a 10 step investigation process has been developed. More than 75 interviews will be conducted starting next week.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • Attorney Glenn Coe has been contracted with to investigate the allegations contained in the DCF report.
  • 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.

ACTION 4: Conduct A Review Of All Detention Supervisory And Direct Care Staff Job Descriptions.

PAST STATUS:

A work group has been established to review job descriptions to include duties and qualifications. A comparison with other states will be conducted. Preliminary discussion has been to raise the present qualifications equal to Juvenile Probation staff and establish a parallel job track.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • The review of job descriptions has been completed. A new job series was defined: Juvenile Detention Services Officer Trainee, Juvenile Detention Services Officer I, and Juvenile Detention Services Officer II. This job series parallels Probation Officers, Family Service Officers, and Juvenile Probation Officers in that a B.A. is a minimum requirement and a career development ladder is included. Human Resources is presently evaluating the appropriate salary ranges for the new positions.
  • 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.

ACTION 5: Enhance The Direct Supervision Of Detention Line Staff.

PAST STATUS:

The need to have highly qualified front line supervisors that are not members of the same union as their staff has been a long standing concern. By utilizing the present "Assistant Supervisor" classification, which is an excluded position, a new supervisor deployment proposal is being developed.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • An interim staff enhancement plan has been completed. It is intended to ensure adequate supervisory, social work, and detention staff on all shifts. It requires 48 new employees; the filling of 18 vacancies in Juvenile Detention and the creation of 30 new positions.
  • We have proceeded to advertise for the filling of these positions including Assistant Supervisor, the excluded position that will now be represented on all three shifts. Final closing date is August 16, 1999.

ACTION 6: Improve Employee Screening And Selection Procedures For Juvenile Detention.

PAST STATUS:

Recently the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) completed a study on screening for persons working with children. We will be making a request to Shay Bilchik, the Administrator of OJJDP, to provide us with technical assistance in redesigning our present screening and selection procedures.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • Effective July 6, 1999, the DCF Child Abuse Registry has been added to our screening for prospective hires for all Juvenile Detention positions. This is in addition to the physical exam which includes a drug screen and a criminal history record check.
  • We intend to review our screening process with the experts coming in at our request from the U. S. Department of Justice in September. It would be important to point out that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a bureau of the federal Justice Department, has recently completed a study on this subject.

ACTION 7: Conduct Additional Targeted Training For Detention Staff In New Haven.

PAST STATUS:

We met with representatives from Educational Training Programs Incorporated (ETP) to discuss immediate training needs for the New Haven staff. They will be visiting the Center next week to begin to determine the training content. It is anticipated that during the months of July and August, all New Haven staff will receive a minimum of two days of training on techniques for managing youth with emotional or cognitive disabilities.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • At our request, ETP has developed a training course outline designed to meet the needs of the New Haven Detention Center. Topics include: From Policies to Reality, Communication with Conflict Resolution, and Developmental Stages of Juveniles. Staff training will begin the week of July 26, 1999 and will continue for two weeks.
  • 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 on September 8 and 9, 1999. Subsequent to this visit, on site training will be scheduled.
  • We have completed a review of existing mental health services contracts, which include the requirement that they train other Detention staff who deals 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 Trevor Johnson, Training Coordinator, CSSD, in identifying needs and resources.

ACTION 8: Complete This Years In-Service Training Program For All Detention Staff.

PAST STATUS:

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.

PRESENT STATUS:

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

ACTION 9: Improve Detention Living Conditions And Increase Available Space.

PAST STATUS:

The first meeting with the architects to design and construct 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 Office, Courtroom) to Detention support space.

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

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

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

PRESENT STATUS: 

  • A package in excess of $4,500,000 is being prepared to secure bonding for facility improvements at all three detention sites and G.A. 2 in Bridgeport, to where the Juvenile Court offices would be relocated. Funding includes the purchase of a site for the new Bridgeport Detention Center; contracting for immediate work to be done in the New Haven Detention Center on the HVAC system (heating ventilation air conditioning system); the cost of enclosing a portion of the outdoor recreation area in New Haven, as well as the cost of furniture, paint, carpentry, and flooring.
  • We have reviewed options for girls’ secure detention and are proceeding 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. Fourteen additional beds can be purchased and, at our request, OPM is evaluating the financial feasibility. This would allow more space for boys and more program space at detention centers and better intervention strategies for each of the sexes separately.
  • Judge Leuba has written to the heads of several state agencies requesting assistance in locating space for new secure detention centers. The CT National Guard responded with a suggestion that will be further explored.

ACTION 10: Compare Connecticut’s Detention Program With Recognized National Standards And Other States.

PAST STATUS:

Utilizing the American Corrections Association’s National Juvenile Detention Standards,along with the detention operation recommendations from OJJDP’s detention Conditions Of Confinement Study, we will be conducting a comparative analysis with our detention centers.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • 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. Contacts include: Dr. David Roush of Michigan State University; Dr. Alan Tezak of Juvenile Detention Centers’ Association of Pennsylvania; New York City Juvenile Detention Centers; Federal Monitor Don DeVore; Dr. Donald Cohen, Director of the Yale Child Study Center; and, Dr. Steve Marans, Director for the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence. A visit is planned to the new New York City Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx on Friday, July 23, 1999.
  • The results of the Standards Review and national search will be included in the September 17, 1999, Comprehensive Report.

ACTION 11: Increase Independent Monitoring At The New Haven Detention Center.

PAST STATUS:

In addition to the monitoring that the federal court has been doing in accordance with the Consent Judgment, we have contracted with the state Child Advocate to provide 25 hours a week of on sight monitoring at the New Haven Detention Center. A monitor has been selected and will start June 21, 1999.

PRESENT STATUS: 

  • 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. This report will be ready at the end of July.
  • 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 Kristin Ragaglia requesting the above.

ACTION 12: Establish A Committee To Address Detention Overcrowding.

PAST STATUS:

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

PRESENT STATUS:

The first meeting of the Juvenile Detention Overcrowding Committee, chaired by Judge Ronan, 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 Juvenile Judge, other juvenile judges, members of CSSD, the Federal Monitor, DCF, and OPM were present. Additional members will 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 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:

PRESENT STATUS:

  • We have consulted 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 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 service they provide at each site.

ACTION 14: Enhance Other Detention Programming

PRESENT STATUS:

  • We are reviewing activity schedules at each detention center with special regard to the hours of 2pm to 8pm.
  • Educationally, we are investigating the possibilities of incorporating year round school and of starting school earlier in the Detention cycle.
  • ETP, a private consulting firm, at our request, 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.
  • A proposal to increase recreation at the New Haven Detention Center over the summer months has been submitted and will be acted on this week.

ACTION 15: Explore Funding Sources to Support Detention Improvements.

PRESENT STATUS:

  • 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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