The post-adjudication unit of the John R. Roach Juvenile Detention Center offers the Court an alternative to committing the juvenile to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The capacity of the post-adjudication unit is thirty-six juveniles – twenty-four beds for boys and twelve for girls. All detention personnel are certified by the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission as Certified Juvenile Supervision Officers, as well as having a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field of study.
Commitment may be for any period of time up to one year (normally 6-9 month). The juveniles have to earn their way through the level system and have the ability to earn their way out early based on emotional and behavioral progress in the program.
Counseling services include a psychological evaluation upon admission including a treatment plan for each child; a minimum of: 6 hours of group counseling per week (3 with a therapist), individual counseling and/or family counseling sessions every other week, and a weekly twelve step meeting. Parents or guardians are expected to participate in the family sessions. They are also required to attend a fourteen week parent group.
Counseling and psycho-education are provided to address: relapse prevention, gangs and lifestyle changes, empathy, self-esteem, emotional management, healthy relationships, family of origin issues, substance abuse, healthy boundaries, communication skills, life skills, healthy family functioning, adaptive coping strategies, HIV/Aids awareness and sex education.
Prior to release, they work on an individualized safety plan that they are to follow upon release. A copy is provided to the juvenile probation officer, aftercare therapist, the parent, and the child. It outlines rules to follow in all settings (home, school, community), as well as specific issues to their individualized needs.
Aftercare counseling is expected of all juveniles upon their release. This consists of weekly group counseling and monthly individual/family sessions. In this program, they earn points for attendance, participation, cooperation, and having a positive outlook on their recovery. Relapse into criminal behavior results in a loss of points. They are required to have a minimum of fifty points and to attend a minimum of twelve 12-step meetings before release from the program.
A common recidivism rate among drug rehabilitation facilities is between 60 - 70% after inpatient; this percentage goes down to 40% with aftercare services. We have been compiling data since 2006, which shows an 11-13% rate of kids being considered unsuccessful. In our determination, “unsuccessful” includes those unsuccessfully discharged from the program and/or those that are known to return to their past criminal behavior after discharge.
SEX OFFENDER PROGRAM
The juvenile sex offender program is designed to accomplish one mission: NO MORE VICTIMS. The mission is realized through intensive treatment of the juvenile on an inpatient basis initially. While in Post Adjudication Detention, the youth learn new skills in a variety of areas. They are taught new coping skills, relapse prevention, victim empathy, healthy social skills and healthy sexual relationships. These juveniles are surrounded by others who have committed the same types of offenses so that they may learn to work together on the issues that are primary in their offense cycles.
During the time that the juveniles are in the Post Adjudication Detention, the parents or supervising adults are required to attend treatment to learn better ways to supervise their children. There are very definitive supervision rules and tasks that the parents must learn so they may support their child and help him/her to develop the skills he/she needs to not re-offend.
The juveniles are placed in Post Adjudication Detention for a period of up to a year. They are able to work their way out of the program early depending on their behavior within the facility and their therapeutic progress. They learn to identify their offense cycle, take full responsibility for their offense, identify high risk situations that occur in their lives both physically and emotionally, develop empathy for the victim and the families involved, and learn appropriate coping skills.
During the course of treatment, there will be several opportunities for the parents and child to have family sessions. These are held so the youth may teach the parents about his particular offense cycle and help the parents to learn his specific red-flags and supervision techniques. If the victim happens to live in the home of the youth that committed the offense, then the victim is required to undergo treatment concurrently with the offending youth. If there is a chance of reunification, all parties must be in therapy and the victim must feel safe to live with the perpetrator again.
To ensure that the youth are being truthful and taking full responsibility for their behavior, they will be polygraphed during their time on probation. Initially, an instant offense polygraph is warranted followed by a maintenance or monitoring polygraph.
At any time during treatment, if a youth does not progress, refuses to do the therapeutic work required, or acts out behaviorally in a manner that is detrimental to himself or the other youth in the program, he will be deemed inappropriate for treatment in Post Adjudication Detention. At this time, the court will make a decision about placement. If the parents are unable or unwilling to learn the skills they need in order to supervise their child in the community, then a similar recommendation will be made to the courts.
It is the belief of the staff that work with the youth that they are kids who have made mistakes (serious mistakes) but not mistakes that cannot be overcome. They learn to work on their specific issues, build self-confidence, and become emotionally independent. The tools they attain while in treatment are tools that they will use for the rest of their lives. This program is not a program that focuses on sexual behavior specifically, though that is one of the primary behaviors that is addressed. The program focuses on the youth learning to think and live life in a different manner so that he/she does not cope with problems in the future in a sexual manner.
Rebuilding Young Lives and Families by Tim Wyatt / The Dallas Morning News