Local Juvenile Detention Practitioners Honored with National Award

Published 10:05 am Monday, August 21, 2023

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A group of local juvenile detention practitioners recently traveled to Philadelphia to receive the 2023 Barbara Allen-Hagen Award. Joseph Dominick, Executive Director of the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center (FPJDC), and several staff members were recognized for their outstanding work in juvenile detention programming.

Situated just 6 miles east of Robert, LA, on U.S. Highway 190, the detention center has a history of achievement. This marks the third time FPJDC has been granted the Barbara Allen-Hagen Award.

Their initial win was in 2016, followed by another in 2020, and being finalists each year since 2015. Joseph Dominick noted, “Our detention center’s commitment to innovative and data-driven approaches in juvenile justice has consistently earned us recognition for our positive impact on at-risk youth and their families.”

Performance-based Standards (PbS), a non-profit organization focused on juvenile justice research and best practices, presented the award to FPJDC. PbS engages in a data-driven continuous improvement process customized for youth facilities, residential programs, and reentry services. Established in 2007, the award honors individuals who exemplify PbS’s dedication to positive outcomes for youths, staff, and families within juvenile justice systems.

“We rely on data to guide us,” Dominick explained. “We gather information from 60 measures of juvenile detention operations, ranging from restraints on hostile youth to family visitation rates. This data helps us gauge our performance against participating detention centers nationwide and work toward constant improvement.”

Since 2019, Louisiana has redefined 17-year-olds as juveniles rather than adults for criminal placement. This change increased FPJDC’s population by 25%, leading to an influx of more violent offenders. Despite these challenges, Dominick emphasized the center’s commitment to rehabilitation while ensuring public safety.

Serving the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice District, which includes Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes, FPJDC offers secure detention for youth aged 10 to 17 facing misdemeanor or felony offenses. The center employs over 100 staff members, providing careers such as Detention Security, Counseling, Nursing, Maintenance, and Food Services. The facility operates around the clock, accommodating up to 133 youth.

PbS, initially launched in the 90s, has transformed into a comprehensive quality improvement program. Its focus on monitoring and improving all aspects of juvenile detainment aims to provide meaningful second chances for youth and reduce the likelihood of further delinquency. More information about FPJDC can be found at www.fpjdc.org, and details about Performance-based Standards can be accessed at www.pbstandards.org.