Veteran Reformer Makes Case to Abolish Isolation in Juvie

With little fanfare, veteran juvenile justice reform activist and consultant Paul Demuro circulated a white paper arguing for the abolition of isolation as a form of punishment in juvenile corrections facilities.

Demuro begins:

Everyone who works in or manages a secure unit should share the same value system/thinking regarding the use of isolation; namely that the use of isolation causes more harm than good and, therefore, the use of and the duration of room confinement/isolation should be limited to the absolute minimum degree possible.
He uses recent examples of facility reforms in Louisiana and Mississippi to argue that the steps to eliminate the need for isolation all involve things that anyone would agree should already exist as standard practice in juvenile facilities. These include:
  • Small-size living units
  • Ability to remove punitive line staff and train/reward good line staff
  • Day plans that reflect a busy, active schedule for juveniles
  • Mental health services
Click here to read the paper.

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