Compliance Monitoring


Jails & Lockups – Background:

Monitoring of jails for compliance with JJDP Act requirements, including compliance with Sections 223(a)(12)(13) and (14) was the responsibility of the Corrections Standards Board - CSB. The CSB employed Jail Inspectors, who annually conducted on-site evaluations of every jail in the state for compliance with state standards. Jail standards in Washington State are almost identical to the provisions of the JJDP Act including prohibiting the holding of juveniles in adult jails, except in certain narrowly defined circumstances and mandating the complete separation of juveniles from adult offenders. Legislation was passed (RCW 13.04.116) in 1987 which resulted in the termination of the CSB and the transfer of responsibility for jail inspection for JJDP Act compliance to the Office of Juvenile Justice, Department of Social and Health Services.

Compliance Monitoring Function:

With the loss of a program coordinator position within the Office of Juvenile Justice during 2011, the state advisory group awarded a contract in SFY 2012 to compliance monitor Sharon Pearson to provide for the onsite monitoring of adult jails and lockups (80 facilities to be monitored); staff within the Office of Juvenile Justice will continue to conduct the monitoring of juvenile facilities, also provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies, and provide for compliance monitoring coordination and the compilation of information for the annual compliance monitoring report to OJJDP (and it is anticipated the adult jail and lockup monitoring function will continue to be contracted to a compliance monitor/consultant).

Increase in number of Agencies Reporting to OJJ:

During 2003, a statewide inventory of law enforcement agencies statewide was conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice. As a result, in 2004 there was a significant increase in the number of reporting agencies (lockups/holding facilities and jails) from previous years. The state’s contracted compliance monitor at that time, Merlyn Bell, monitored the detention practices of 281 agencies in 2004. As a result, the number of jails and lockups that securely hold juveniles increased from 43 to 132 agencies, and accordingly the number of reporting agencies also increased from 68 to 181 agencies in 2004. Ms. Bell reported the primary reason the old monitoring universe was outdated may be attributed to the shift of correctional costs to local municipalities and the consequent re-opening of old secure areas, and the construction of new facilities with secure areas.

Currently (April 2012), there are 146 adult facilities statewide that have the ability to securely detain and may temporarily hold juveniles, and an additional 69 facilities that are also secure but certify by policy they do not hold juveniles—215 total secure facilities. (There are also 134 law enforcement facilities—departments, precincts and substations—that are non-secure.)

Juvenile Detention Centers –

There are 22 juvenile detention centers statewide—21 are county-operated and maintained by the juvenile courts, and one is a regional center maintained by a consortium of counties. Juveniles from all 39 counties are held in these 22 facilities. Juveniles are held in local detention facilities either to await court hearings or as sentenced juveniles. Washington State utilizes the federal valid court order exception—status offenders are held in these juvenile detention facilities pursuant to a FTA or contempt of a court finding related to a status offense (primarily related to Truancy or At-Risk Youth orders/proceedings). Onsite monitoring and data collection is required—OJJ staff have historically collected the data annually regarding status offenders held in these facilities (from the Administrative Office of the Courts, and directly from several of the juvenile courts), provided analysis and coordination of the onsite monitoring, and compiled information for the annual compliance report to OJJDP. In the past several years, OJJ staff have drafted individual written summary monitoring reports of these onsite facility visits, and shared with the respective juvenile court administrator. OJJ staff will continue to conduct the required onsite monitoring visits to juvenile detention centers (every effort will be made to monitor each detention facility once every three years—a minimum of 10 percent, or on average 7-8 facilities annually).

Secure Crisis Residential Centers - 

State legislation passed in 1995 (the Family Reconciliation Act) authorized the creation of “Secure” Crisis Residential Centers (S-CRCs) to receive primarily runaway children taken into custody by law enforcement. In 2001, the OJJ compliance monitors determined that five of the S-CRCs operated by private non-profit organizations were non-secure facilities (staff-secure) according to federal guidelines, while they do meet the state definition for Secure Crisis Residential Centers. The remaining four facilities were separate, designated areas located within secure juvenile detention facilities that meet state requirements, and are as separate from the other residents and activities of the larger facility as is possible, with dedicated staff.

During the first six months of 2009, two of the four S-CRCs that are operated by juvenile courts, and located within their respective juvenile detention centers, closed due to reductions to the 2009 operating budget. Accordingly, in June 2009 the total number of beds within the four detention-based facilities was reduced from 26 to 8 total beds.

Due to the significant reduction in beds and usage, and consequent significant reduction in DSO violations for the state, in 2010 the federal OJJDP found the state in full compliance with the DSO core requirement, and hence eligible to apply for the full FY 2011 Formula Grant allocation to the state.

Per OJJDP’s directive, “Detention” data in Washington’s annual compliance monitoring reports has historically included youth (admissions) to these facilities. The Kitsap County secure CRC, which historically held about one-half of the total admissions to the four facilities, closed in February 2009; the Snohomish County secure CRC closed in June 2009. The two remaining facilities, located in the Chelan and Clallam facilities, have consistently held a small number of admissions.

During the 12-month period of January through December 2011, the Chelan and Clallam facilities (the two remaining operating detention-based secure CRCs) had 96 admissions (combined total) during the calendar year; slightly more than one-third of these admissions were found to be violations of DSO. Based on these data and preliminary data received to date for adult jails and lockups for the 2011 calendar year, it is anticipated the state will again be found in compliance with DSO according to CY 2011 data.

With an average of only 3 to 4 admissions per month in each facility, it is not anticipated the number of DSO violations in juvenile detention facilities will significantly increase in the future due to youth held in these two secure crisis residential centers. The average length of stay for admissions of status offenders to these two facilities has been two days, and more than one-third (35%) of the youth admitted were released in under 24 hours in 2011.

Data from these two detention-based secure CRCs are self-reported and provided to the OJJ on a monthly or quarterly basis, including length of stay in hours, time of court reviews, etc., for each admission. OJJ staff will plan to conduct onsite monitoring visits to these two remaining facilities in conjunction with monitoring visits to the respective juvenile detention centers. Washington State uses the allowance to hold an accused status offender in a secure juvenile detention facility for up to 24 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays, prior to an initial court appearance and for an additional 24 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays, immediately following an initial court appearance.

Juvenile Training Schools and Collocated Facility - 

The county juvenile courts commit the most serious offenders to the state  Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration - JRA. JRA operates four secure juvenile residential facilities (two medium/maximum security facilities, one medium security youth camp, and one basic training camp) statewide. OJJ compliance monitors have provided onsite monitoring visits to a minimum of one JRA facility annually (25%); OJJ staff will continue to conduct the onsite monitoring and data verification of JRA training schools and youth camps (1 to 2 JRA facilities annually).

There is one approved collocated facility in the state located in Whitman County (eastern Washington); annual onsite monitoring visits/inspections are required for this facility. This collocated facility has not been utilized for the past three years. It is a short-term juvenile detention facility that was used periodically on weekends, and is collocated with an adult county jail.