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AZ DOJC - Rehabilitation and Community Re-entry Programs, OAG, 2009

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A REPORT
TO THE

ARIZONA LEGISLATURE

Performance Audit Division
Performance Audit

Arizona Department of
Juvenile Corrections—
Rehabilitation and
Community Re-entry Programs
March • 2009
REPORT NO. 09-02

Debra K. Davenport
Auditor General

The Auditor General is appointed by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, a bipartisan committee composed of five senators
and five representatives. Her mission is to provide independent and impartial information and specific recommendations to
improve the operations of state and local government entities. To this end, she provides financial audits and accounting services
to the State and political subdivisions, investigates possible misuse of public monies, and conducts performance audits of
school districts, state agencies, and the programs they administer.

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee
Senator Thayer Verschoor, Chair
Senator
Senator
Senator
Senator
Senator

Pamela Gorman
John Huppenthal
Richard Miranda
Rebecca Rios
Bob Burns (ex-officio)

Representative Judy Burges, Vice-Chair
Representative
Representative
Representative
Representative
Representative

Tom Boone
Cloves Campbell, Jr.
Rich Crandall
Kyrsten Sinema
Kirk Adams (ex-officio)

Audit Staff
Melanie M. Chesney, Director
Dale Chapman, Manager and Contact Person
Michael Nickelsburg, Team Leader
Kathleen Abbott
Sara Bessette
Heather Weech

Copies of the Auditor General’s reports are free.
You may request them by contacting us at:

Office of the Auditor General
2910 N. 44th Street, Suite 410 • Phoenix, AZ 85018 • (602) 553-0333
Additionally, many of our reports can be found in electronic format at:

www.azauditor.gov

STATE OF ARIZONA
OFFICE OF THE

DEBRA K. DAVENPORT, CPA
AUDITOR GENERAL

WILLIAM THOMSON
DEPUTY AUDITOR GENERAL

AUDITOR GENERAL

March 2, 2009

Members of the Arizona Legislature
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer, Governor
Michael Branham, Director
Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections
Transmitted herewith is a report of the Auditor General, a Performance Audit of the Arizona
Department of Juvenile Corrections—Rehabilitation and Community Re-entry Programs.
This report is in response to an October 5, 2006, resolution of the Joint Legislative Audit
Committee. The performance audit was conducted as part of the sunset review process
prescribed in Arizona Revised Statutes §41-2951 et seq. I am also transmitting with this
report a copy of the Report Highlights for this audit to provide a quick summary for your
convenience.
As outlined in its response, the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections agrees with all
of the findings and plans to implement all of the recommendations.
My staff and I will be pleased to discuss or clarify items in the report.
This report will be released to the public on March 3, 2009.
Sincerely,

Debbie Davenport
Auditor General
Attachment

2910 NORTH 44

th

STREET • SUITE 410 • PHOENIX, ARIZONA

85018 • (602) 553-0333 • FAX (602) 553-0051

SUMMARY
The Office of the Auditor General has conducted a performance audit of the Arizona
Department of Juvenile Corrections (Department)—Rehabilitation and Community
Re-entry Programs pursuant to an October 5, 2006, resolution of the Joint Legislative
Audit Committee. This audit, conducted as part of the sunset review process
prescribed in Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §41-2951 et seq., focuses on the
treatment services provided to juveniles while in secure care and transitioning
juveniles into the community. Two subsequent reports will focus on quality assurance
and safety practices and the 12 statutory sunset factors.
The Department’s mission is to enhance public protection by changing the
delinquent thinking and behaviors of juvenile offenders under its jurisdiction. In
Arizona, most juvenile offenders are placed on probation and are not assigned to the
Department. Offenders assigned to the Department have generally been adjudicated
as delinquent four or more times, usually for misdemeanors or class six felonies.
Some juveniles have been committed to the Department for more serious offenses
such as homicide, robbery, and motor vehicle theft. They receive a variety of services,
including rehabilitation and treatment programming, education, and medical and
dental care, at one of four correctional facilities. If juveniles assigned to the
Department are released before turning 18, the Department also supervises their
parole. The Department had a population of 1,077 juveniles as of June 30, 2008,
consisting of 652 juveniles housed at its secure care facilities and 425 on parole.

Department’s treatment programs modeled after best
practices, but delivery needs improvement (see pages 11
through 26)
The Department should take several steps to ensure proper implementation of the
treatment programs it provides to help rehabilitate juveniles in its secure care
facilities. The Department provides a core treatment program and a behavioral
management program to all juveniles in its housing units, and also provides
specialized sex offender, mental health, and chemical dependence treatment
programs in special housing units. Research indicates that treatment, if effectively

Office of the Auditor General
page

i

designed and implemented, can reduce the likelihood that juveniles will re-offend.
Although the Department modeled its treatment programs after methods that
research indicates can be effective, it is not implementing these programs as
designed. Specifically,


Based on auditor review of 9 of the Department’s 25 housing units, some
program sessions are not offered frequently enough, the sessions are too short
in length, and many of the department staff need additional training in how to
conduct them.



According to department officials and the treatment program manual, juveniles
should receive a customized core treatment program that includes
supplemental treatment modules and participation in core treatment specialty
groups that are based upon individual diagnoses, risk factors, and problem
areas such as anger, depression, and self-injury. However, according to housing
unit staff, none of the housing units auditors visited provided the customized
core treatment as specified in the core treatment program manual. Also,
inconsistent behavior management in many housing units undermines the
therapeutic environment needed for effective treatment.



The Department did not provide chemical dependence and sex offender
treatment to all who should be receiving it. Generally, only juveniles housed in
specialty units received this treatment. However, many juveniles housed in other
units have also been identified as having chemical dependency diagnosis or
needing sex offender treatment.

The Department has begun to take steps to ensure that all treatment programs are
implemented as designed, including developing and revising treatment program
procedures, providing additional training to staff, and designating a new sex offender
treatment unit to provide sex offender treatment to a greater number of juveniles. The
Department should also provide increased monitoring, oversight, and evaluation of
its treatment programs.

Decision-making process for juvenile treatment and
release recommendations needs improvement (see
pages 27 through 36)
The Department should improve the process it uses to plan a juvenile’s treatment
program and make recommendations about a juvenile’s release into the community.
Recidivism serves as a basic measure of the Department’s success in rehabilitating
juveniles, and approximately one-third of the juveniles released from secure care
between 2002 and 2005 returned to custody within 12 months of their release.1
1

State of Arizona
page

ii

Although difficult to compare to the recidivism rates reported by other states because of state differences in determining
these rates, the Department compares its recidivism rate to the rates reported by five other states that measure recidivism
in a similar way: Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Virginia. These states reported 12-month recidivism rates
ranging from 23 to 45 percent.

Therefore, any actions that can be taken to improve treatment planning and release
decisions are important. The Department has established multidisciplinary teams
(MDTs), which develop treatment plans, review progress, and make
recommendations about release. Auditors identified several issues that impede the
effectiveness of the MDTs:


The MDTs rely on an assessment instrument that contains unreliable
information, mainly because data controls are weak. For example, 76 of 90
juvenile records auditors examined contained contradictory information related
to alcohol and drug use. Contradictory information could lead to faulty decisions
about treatment plans and juveniles’ readiness for release.



MDT meetings observed by auditors were often characterized by distractions,
interruptions, and limited attendance. In some cases, staff acted
unprofessionally and/or the surrounding environment was extremely disruptive.

Steps needed to address these issues include improving data controls, improving
oversight and monitoring of juveniles’ assessments, enhancing the monitoring of
MDT meetings, clarifying procedures, and providing ongoing training.

Department should better support juveniles’ transition to
the community (see pages 37 through 48)
Effective transition of juveniles from secure care to the community can help juveniles
reduce their chances of having further contact with the juvenile or adult justice
systems. Although the Department cannot eliminate the chance that a juvenile may
violate parole, connecting juveniles to education, jobs, or needed services is one way
to reduce the risk of re-offending. However, when auditors reviewed a random
sample of 58 case records of male juveniles released to parole in 2007, they found
that 9 received none of the support services specified in their parole plan, and
another 33 received only some of these services. However, for 32 of the 58 juveniles
who made a connection to a job, auditors found that they were significantly less likely
to violate their parole.
The Department can improve how effectively it transitions juveniles to the community
by further developing its relationships with schools and agencies involved in serving
youth, by implementing certain procedures (such as ensuring juveniles have
transcripts, proof of citizenship, and other important documents when they return to
the community), and by improving how it tracks its success in helping juveniles
transition into the community.

Office of the Auditor General
page

iii

Other pertinent information (see pages 49 through 52)
The majority of juveniles committed to the Department are released from jurisdiction
not because they complete rehabilitative treatment, but because they turn 18 and
must be discharged in accordance with A.R.S. §8-246(B). The statutorily required
age for release, as well as the late date at which some juveniles are committed to the
Department, contributes to the high percentage of age-related discharges. Thirty-five
other states can retain jurisdiction over juveniles on parole or aftercare past the age
of 18, and 11 states allow juvenile courts to impose an adult sentence that can be
suspended if the juvenile completes the juvenile disposition and does not commit
new offenses.1 Department data shows that juveniles who complete their treatment
and receive an absolute discharge from the Department are less likely to re-offend
than those who “age out” of the Department’s jurisdiction.

1
State of Arizona
page

iv

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction & Background
Finding 1: Department’s treatment programs modeled after
best practices, but delivery needs improvement
Effective treatment can reduce recidivism
Treatment programs do not adhere to program design
Department should continue efforts to improve implementation of
treatment programs
Recommendations

Finding 2: Decision-making process for juvenile treatment
and release recommendations needs improvement
Recidivism offers look at Department’s efforts to rehabilitate juveniles
MDT decision-making process faces challenges
Better controls, oversight, and training needed to improve MDT process
Recommendations

Finding 3: Department should better support juveniles’
transition to the community
Effective community transition critical to juveniles’ success
Juveniles transitioned into the community do not always receive needed
services or do not receive them in a timely manner
Improved relationships and policies needed to better support transition
Recommendations

Other Pertinent Information

1
11
11
12
19
24
27
27
28
33
36
37
37
38
40
46
49
continued

Office of the Auditor General
page

v

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Appendix A: Treatment Programs

a-i

Appendix B: Methodology

b-i

Appendix C: Bibliography

c-i

Agency Response
Tables:
1

Secure Care Facility and Parole Populations
As of June 30, 2008

2

2

Demographics of Juveniles Ordered to the
Department’s Custody for the First Time
Fiscal Year 2008

2

Schedule of Revenues, Expenditures, and Transfers Out
Fiscal Years 2007 through 2009
(Unaudited)

8

3

4

Analysis of the First 6 Months of Parole for 58 Released Juveniles
Calendar Year 2007

39

Figure:
1

concluded

State of Arizona
page

vi

Reasons for Juvenile Discharges from Department’s Jurisdiction
Calendar Years 2002 through 2005

50

INTRODUCTION
& BACKGROUND
The Office of the Auditor General has conducted a performance audit of the Arizona
Department of Juvenile Corrections (Department)—Rehabilitation and Community
Re-entry Programs pursuant to an October 5, 2006, resolution of the Joint Legislative
Audit Committee. This audit, conducted as part of the sunset review process
prescribed in Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §41-2951 et seq., focuses on the
treatment services provided to juveniles while in secure care and transitioning
juveniles into the community. Two subsequent reports will focus on quality assurance
and safety practices and the 12 statutory sunset factors.

Department’s purpose is juvenile rehabilitation
The Department’s mission is to enhance public protection by changing the
delinquent thinking and behaviors of juvenile offenders under its jurisdiction. To
accomplish this mission, the Department operates four correctional facilities (also
called secure care facilities), supervises juveniles on parole, and provides a variety of
services to juveniles adjudicated as delinquent and committed to its care, including:


Rehabilitation and treatment programming—The Department provides
rehabilitation programming to all juveniles at its correctional facilities to try to
change their delinquent thinking and actions. In addition, the Department has
specialty treatment units that provide mental health, chemical dependency, and
sex offender treatment (See Appendix A, pages a-i through a-viii, for additional
information on the Department’s treatment programs).



Education and vocational rehabilitation—The Department operates accredited
schools at all four correctional facilities. The Department also offers vocational
services to juveniles to teach them practical job skills such as construction,
automotive, computer technology, and culinary arts.



Medical care—Medical staff are available at each facility 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week. The Department also provides pharmaceutical and dental care.

Office of the Auditor General
page

1

Table 1:

Secure Care Facility and Parole Populations
As of June 30, 2008

Type of Care:
Secure care facility
Adobe Mountain
Eagle Point
Catalina Mountain
Black Canyon
Parole
Total

Location

Number of
Juveniles

As illustrated in Table 1, department data shows that the
Department had a population of 1,077 juveniles as of
June 30, 2008, consisting of 652 juveniles housed at its
four secure care facilities and 425 on parole.

As illustrated in Table 2, nearly 88 percent of juveniles
committed to the Department’s custody in fiscal year
2008 were males and more than 50 percent were
Hispanic. In addition, more than 64 percent of juveniles
were 16 or older when first committed to the
Department. The Maricopa County juvenile courts
Source: Auditor General staff summary of unaudited juvenile population data
committed more than half of the Department’s juvenile
prepared by department staff.
population. Additionally, department data shows that
most of the juveniles committed to the Department have
some previous history with the juvenile court. Department data also indicates that
over half of all juveniles committed to the Department have been adjudicated as
delinquent four or more times. The most common offenses committed by these
juveniles are class six felonies (34.1 percent) or
misdemeanors (22.9 percent). Class six felonies
Table 2:
Demographics of Juveniles Ordered to the
include indecent exposure to a person under 15 and
Department’s Custody for the First Time
possession of less than 2 pounds of marijuana not
Fiscal Year 2008
intended for sale. Misdemeanors include offenses such
as criminal trespass in the second degree and
Number of
Demographic
Juveniles
Percentage
shoplifting property with a value less than $1,000.
Gender
Some juveniles are committed to the Department for
Male
656
87.9%
more serious offenses such as homicide, robbery, and
Female
90
12.1
motor vehicle theft.

Source:

2

332
159
102
59
425
1,077

Race/ethnicity
Hispanic
Caucasian
African-American
Native American
Mexican national
Other

379
222
78
38
26
3

50.8
29.8
10.5
5.1
3.4
0.4

Age
15 or under
16 through 17

266
480

35.7
64.3

County
Maricopa
Pima
Yuma
Mohave
Pinal
Other

421
84
74
41
41
85

56.4
11.3
9.9
5.5
5.5
11.4

Auditor General staff summary of unaudited juvenile population data
prepared by department staff.

State of Arizona
page

Phoenix
Buckeye
Tucson
Phoenix
Various

Juvenile court process
Under Arizona’s juvenile court process, a relatively
small portion of juveniles who are found to be
delinquent are actually placed under the
Department’s jurisdiction. Juveniles who are eight
and older who have not reached their eighteenth
birthday and are found to be delinquent by the
juvenile court can either be placed on probation or
committed to the Department. In fiscal year 2007,
over 48,000 juveniles were referred to the juvenile
court. Most juveniles adjudicated as delinquent are
assigned to standard or juvenile intensive probation
and not placed under the Department’s jurisdiction.
In fiscal year 2008, 746 juveniles were committed to
the Department for the first time.

Arizona statute requires serious juvenile offenders 15 years of age or older to be
prosecuted as adults. Specifically, A.R.S. §13-501 requires county attorneys to
prosecute juveniles 15 or older as adults:


Who commit offenses such as murder, armed robbery, or forcible sexual
assault;



Who have two prior felony adjudications and are arrested for a third felony; or



Who have been previously convicted in criminal court.

Juveniles may also be transferred to criminal court for other reasons. County
attorneys have the discretion to file charges against juveniles as young as 14 in
criminal court for certain felony offenses or if the juvenile is a chronic offender.
Juveniles can also be transferred from juvenile court to criminal court based on
factors specified in A.R.S. §8-327, including the seriousness of the offense, the
juvenile’s record and history with law enforcement and the court, previous
commitments to the Department, and the likelihood of reasonable rehabilitation
through services available to the juvenile court.
The length of time that juvenile offenders spend in secure care is not necessarily
determined by the judge. The judge may or may not specify a period of time the
juvenile is supposed to stay in secure care, and even if the judge does so, the
Department actually determines whether to release the juvenile at the courtordered date or to hold the juvenile for a longer period. In fiscal year 2008, 24
percent of the juveniles placed under the Department’s jurisdiction did not receive
a court-ordered minimum length of stay, while another 46 percent were ordered to
stay in secure care for more than 120 days. About 57 percent of juveniles stayed
in secure care for more than 6 months with an average length of stay of 7.1
months. Once a juvenile turns 18, however, according to statute, the Department
must release him/her regardless of whether department staff believe treatment is
complete (See Other Pertinent Information, pages 49 through 52, for more
information).
Juveniles released by the Department before they turn 18 are on
Absolute Discharge—Juveniles who
parole and supervised by the Department. Juveniles remain on
complete their treatment, rehabilitation,
parole until they turn 18, earn their absolute discharge (see
and education and who show there is a
textbox), are returned to secure care for violating parole, or are
reasonable probability they will obey
discharged for other reasons. For juveniles released from secure
the law and not be a threat to public
care to parole from 2002 through 2005, nearly 28 percent returned
safety can be discharged from the
to secure care within 1 year of their release to parole, while another
Department’s supervision.
5 percent ended up being incarcerated in the Department of
Source: Auditor General staff summary of statute and
Corrections. For those juveniles released in 2005 who returned to
department policy.
secure care, according to department data, 59 percent returned
because they committed a new delinquent offense while 41
percent returned for violating the terms of their parole. Although comparing state
recidivism data presents difficulties because of differences in the methods states

Office of the Auditor General
page

3

use to measure recidivism, the Department does compare its recidivism rates to
the rates reported by some other states that measure recidivism in a similar way.1
According to the Department's analysis, the 12-month recidivism rate in the five
comparison states ranges from 23 to 45 percent. The Department’s reported 12month recidivism rate of 33 percent is higher than the recidivism rates reported by
four of these states.

Past concerns with juvenile corrections
The Department of Juvenile Corrections was created in 1990 when it was separated
from the Department of Corrections after a lawsuit was filed over the treatment of
juveniles. In 1986, a lawsuit was filed against the Department of Corrections alleging
various civil rights violations.2 These included the lack of rehabilitative treatment,
confining juveniles under conditions amounting to punishment in violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and not providing special
education programs that met the requirements of state and federal laws. After the
Department of Juvenile Corrections was separated from the Department of
Corrections, it entered into a consent decree with the plaintiffs in 1993 agreeing to:


Develop programs to address the individual treatment needs of juveniles;



Develop individual treatment plans and a plan to evaluate the effectiveness of its
treatment programs;



Assess the special education needs of juveniles;



Maintain appropriate services for special education students;



Employ sufficient staff to maintain a staff-to-juvenile ratio of 1 to 8 during the day
and 1 to 16 during normal sleeping hours; and



Limits on the use of excluding juveniles from programming or contact with other
juveniles by confining them to their room or sending them to a separation unit.

Based on the Department’s compliance with the decree, the lawsuit was closed in
1998.
In 2002, the United States Department of Justice began an investigation under the
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) into whether the constitutional
and federal statutory rights of juveniles in the custody of the Department of Juvenile
Corrections were being violated. In January 2004, the Department of Justice issued
a report finding serious deficiencies at three of the Department of Juvenile

State of Arizona
page

4

1

The Department compares its 12-month recidivism rate to the recidivism rates reported by Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana,
Ohio, and Virginia.

2

Johnson v. Upchurch, CIV-86-195, U.S. Dist. Ct. for Dist. of AZ.

Corrections’ secure care facilities and filed a complaint against the State in
September 2004.1
The identified deficiencies, which the report noted harmed or put juveniles at risk for
harm, included:


Inadequate suicide prevention measures—Although the facilities adequately
screened youth to identify those at risk for suicide, the youth who were identified
were inadequately monitored by mental health staff and inadequately
supervised by direct care staff, who also lacked the training and tools necessary
to intervene in the event of an attempted suicide, and were not safely housed.



Deficient correctional practices—The Department failed to protect youth from
sexual and physical abuse, did not provide adequate due process protections
before isolating youth, and did not maintain safe and sanitary living conditions.



Inadequate medical and mental healthcare services—Medical care problems
included inadequate nursing care, dangerous medication administration
practices, inadequate quality assurance and infection control programs,
inadequate pharmacy services, and inadequate dental care services. The
problems identified in mental health services were inadequate group and
individual therapy, interventions, interdisciplinary communication, and discharge
planning.



Failure to provide special education—Investigators found that the Department
inadequately screened and identified students for special education services,
inadequately developed Individualized Education Plans, and did not provide
sufficient special education staffing and services.

The State agreed to implement more than 120 mandatory provisions. A committee
of consultants that both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of
Juvenile Corrections agreed to monitored the implementation of the provisions.
According to a department official, complying with the CRIPA provisions was the
Department’s primary focus for 3 years. In September 2007, a federal judge
dismissed the case against the Department when it showed substantial compliance
with all of the provisions.
In addition to addressing the deficiencies noted above, the consultants found that the
Department substantially complied with provisions requiring appropriate behavior
management/crisis intervention training for staff before working directly with juveniles
and the development and implementation of policies and procedures regarding the
content of juvenile treatment plans. This content included the development of
individualized juvenile treatment plans, the identification of the mental health and/or
behavioral health issues to be addressed, a description of the behavioral
management plan or strategies to be undertaken, and the development of a

1

United States of America v. The State of Arizona, et. al., CV-04-01926, U.S. Dist. Ct. of AZ.
Office of the Auditor General
page

5

transition plan for when the juvenile leaves the State’s care, including providing the
juvenile’s family with information regarding mental health resources available in the
juvenile’s home community and providing assistance in making initial appointments
with service providers. During the CRIPA monitoring, the Department also adopted
its core treatment program, revised its specialty treatment programs, implemented
its current assessment process, and revised its multidisciplinary treatment team
process.

Organization and staffing
As of January 28, 2009, the Department had 1,163.7 authorized FTE, of which 122
were vacant. The Department cannot fill 65.5 of the vacant positions because of a
state hiring freeze. The Department is organized as follows:


State of Arizona
page

6

Operations—The day-to-day functions of the Department’s secure care facilities
are broken into five functional areas:
•

Safe Schools (742 FTE, 60.5 vacancies)—Manages the day-to-day
operations of each secure care facility, including the juveniles who are
housed in and the staff who work in these facilities.

•

Medical Services (70.5 FTE, 18 vacancies)—Provides medical, nursing,
pharmacy, and dental services.

•

Behavioral Health (12 FTE, 2 vacancies)—Provides treatment services and
mental health services to juveniles in secure care.

•

Education (114 FTE, 19 vacancies)—Operates schools at each of the four
secure care facilities and these schools are accredited through the North
Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement
(NCA CASI). NCA CASI accredits over 8,500 public and private schools in
19 states and the Navajo Nation, and the Department of Defense Schools.
Juveniles can graduate from the Department’s schools, and the
accreditation allows credits earned while attending one of the secure care
schools to be transferred to other schools upon a juvenile’s release from
secure care. The Department also provides special education services in
accordance with federal requirements.

•

Community Corrections (69.5 authorized FTE, 5 vacancies)—Operates a
system of community-based programs to supervise and rehabilitate
juveniles in the least restrictive environment once released from secure
care, consistent with public safety and the juvenile’s needs.



Inspections and Investigations (23 FTE, 1 vacancies)—Uses both law
enforcement and administrative authority to conduct investigations concerning
any allegation of criminal action, misconduct, and noncompliance with state and
department rules and regulations.



Quality Assurance (10 FTE, 0 vacancies)—Conducts inspections and audits
(including formal comprehensive audits at each secure care facility every 6
months, as well as follow-up audits), performs data analysis, develops policy
recommendations, and conducts training evaluations. Quality Assurance
reports directly to the department director.



Legal Systems (23 FTE, 4 vacancies)—Provides legal expertise to the
Department, including a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office, due process
hearing officers, policy and procedure specialists, victim’s rights advocates, and
a juvenile ombudsman.



Support Services (86.7 FTE, 11.5 vacancies)—Oversees fiscal management,
procurement, human resources, information systems, research and
development, staff development, and facilities administration.



Executive Staff (13 FTE, 1 vacancy)—Includes the Director’s Office, which
provides leadership to the Department, the Deputy Director’s Office, which
oversees daily operations of the Department, and the Communications and
Legislative Policy Division staff, which communicates with the public and creates
the Department’s annual legislative agenda.

Budget
The Department received a total of nearly $86 million in revenues for fiscal year 2008,
of which $27.9 million was spent on the programs reviewed in this audit: rehabilitation
and community re-entry. Table 3 (see page 8) illustrates actual revenues and
expenditures related to rehabilitation and community re-entry for fiscal years 2007
through 2008 and budgeted revenues and expenditures for fiscal year 2009. Most of
the Department’s expenditures in rehabilitation and community re-entry relate to
personal services and employee-related expenditures. However, for fiscal year 2008,
the Department also spent nearly $1.3 million for other operating costs, which
included building rental, telecommunication services, risk management charges,
and various other costs of operating the programs, as well as nearly $1.5 million for
professional and outside services, which included payments to contractors for
residential placements for juveniles on parole, outpatient behavioral health services
in the community, parole services, and various consulting services. According to the
Department, it spent an average of $50,421 per year to house a juvenile in secure
care and $10,590 per year to supervise a juvenile on parole in fiscal year 2008.

Office of the Auditor General
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7

Table 3:

Schedule of Revenues, Expenditures, and Transfers Out
Fiscal Years 2007 through 20091
(Unaudited)

Revenues:
State General Fund appropriations
Criminal Justice Enhancement Fund2
Intergovernmental3
Other
Total revenues

page

8

2008
(Actual)

20091
(Estimate)

$24,133,368
738,275
1,799,894
_________
26,671,537

$26,725,954
769,086
167,727
7,162
27,669,929

$25,906,659
797,000
414,479
_________
27,118,138

Expenditures and operating transfers out:4
Personal services and related benefits5
Professional and outside services6
Travel
Other operating7
Equipment
Total expenditures
Operating transfers out8
Total expenditures and operating
transfers out

21,601,585
3,174,152
334,556
1,355,023
90,336
26,555,652
_________

24,843,185
1,484,527
273,235
1,289,383
41,350
27,931,680
303,300

23,372,366
2,014,132
358,482
1,449,379
43,515
27,237,874
150,000

26,555,652

28,234,980

27,387,874

Excess of revenues over (under) expenditures
and operating transfers out9

$ 115,885

$ (565,051)

$ (269,736)

1

2009 estimates reflect the Department’s allocation of budget reductions specified in Laws 2009, 1st S.S., Ch.
1, §3.

2

Consists of criminal and civil fines and forfeits assessed in accordance with A.R.S. §12-116.01 that are
deposited in the Criminal Justice Enhancement Fund and appropriated to the Department.

3

According to department officials, amounts decreased in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 because the
Department no longer received a significant federal grant.

4

Administrative adjustments are included in the fiscal year paid.

5

According to department officials, the amount increased in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 primarily because the
Department began paying health and dental costs for employees at the schools at each of its four secure
care facilities. Previously, these costs were charged to another program.

6

Includes payments to contractors for residential placements for juveniles on parole, outpatient behavioral
health services in the community, parole services, and various consulting services.

7

Consists of building rental, telecommunication services, risk management charges, and various other costs
of operating the programs.

8

Consists primarily of transfers to the State General Fund as required by Laws 2008, Ch. 53, §2, and Ch. 285,
§24.

9

Deficits in fiscal year 2008 and projected for fiscal year 2009 are funded with unexpended revenues from
prior fiscal years.

Source:

State of Arizona

2007
(Actual)

Auditor General staff analysis of the Arizona Financial Information System Accounting Event
Transaction File for fiscal years 2007 and 2008, and information provided by the Department for fiscal
year 2009.

Scope and objectives
This performance audit focused on the treatment services provided to juveniles in the
Department’s secure care facilities, the Department’s decision-making process for
assessing juveniles’ treatment progress and recommending release on parole, and
the transition of juveniles from secure care to parole in the community.
This audit was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings
and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence
obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our
audit objectives.
The Auditor General and staff express appreciation to the Department’s Director and
staff for their cooperation and assistance throughout the audit.

Office of the Auditor General
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State of Arizona
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10

FINDING 1
Department’s treatment programs modeled after
best practices, but delivery needs improvement
The Department of Juvenile Corrections (Department) should take several steps to
ensure proper implementation of the treatment programs it provides to help
rehabilitate all juveniles in its secure care facilities. Research indicates that certain
types of treatment, if effectively implemented, can reduce the likelihood that juveniles
will re-offend. Although the Department has modeled its treatment programs in ways
that research indicates can be effective, it is not implementing these programs as
designed, thereby compromising their effectiveness. Specifically, the Department
does not provide treatment as often or as long as called for, does not provide
customized core treatment, and does not adequately manage juveniles’ behavior
when it disrupts the group treatment sessions. In addition, the Department does not
provide chemical dependence and sex offender treatment to all juveniles who should
be receiving it. The Department should continue with efforts it has begun to improve
its treatment programming by ensuring that its programs are properly implemented,
developing and implementing clear guidelines for staff to follow, providing adequate
and continuing staff training, ensuring that qualified staff deliver treatment, and
providing ongoing monitoring and evaluation of treatment program implementation.

Effective treatment can reduce recidivism
Research shows that properly implemented treatment
programs that use certain types of therapies can reduce
recidivism. According to the research, factors that promote
effective treatment include the following:


1

Type of treatment provided—Certain types of rehabilitative
treatment have shown greater success in reducing
recidivism, most notably those that are based on cognitive
behavioral therapy approaches.1 These approaches are

Cognitive-bbehavioral therapy—“Our
thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors,
not external things, like people, situations,
and events,” and “the benefit of this fact is
that we can change the way we think to
feel/act better even if the situation does not
change.”
Source: National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists
Web site, August 22, 2008.

Landenberger and Lipsey, 2005; Latessa, Cullen, and Gendreau, 2002; Lipsey, 1992; Lipsey, Chapman, and
Landenberger, 2001; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, National Institute of Corrections, 2001
Office of the Auditor General
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11

designed to correct the dysfunctional thinking patterns of offenders, which
include making excuses for one’s behavior, misinterpretation of social cues,
deficient moral reasoning, and thoughts of dominance and entitlement.1


Quality of program implementation—Implementing a program in the way it
was designed and continuing to adhere to that design have been shown to
further reduce recidivism.2 Research has shown that “there is a fairly strong
correlation between program integrity and reductions in recidivism.”3

Amount of treatment—Research indicates that treatments that are longer in
duration and involve more contact hours are associated with better
outcomes.4 A high level of treatment is considered to be more than 26
weeks’ duration with two or more contacts per week, or
treatment with more than 100 hours of total contact.5
Department’s Treatment Programs


System for Change—Provides behavior
management tools, treatment approaches, and
educational expectations for all juveniles and staff.
Core (New Freedom)—A broad substance abuse
and behavioral health program provided to all
juveniles.
Chemical Dependency—The Seven Challenges® is
the primary treatment intervention for juveniles with
chemical dependency issues.

Customizing treatment to meet individual needs—Research
shows that in order for rehabilitation programs to be
effective in reducing recidivism and maximizing treatment
outcomes, they should target the dynamic risk factors and
needs of offenders, such as peer relationships. However,
research also states that these factors will vary from juvenile
to juvenile and programs should work to meet each
juvenile’s needs.6

Sex Offender—This treatment program is designed
to meet various goals and competencies associated
with appropriate sexual boundaries, emotional
regulation, and self-control skills.

Treatment programs do not adhere to
program design

Mental Health—Treatment to juveniles who meet the
criteria for select mental health disorders and
specific behaviors.

Although the Department has modeled its treatment programs
after the current thinking in the field of juvenile treatment, it is not
implementing its treatment programs—particularly the core
treatment program, which is provided to all juveniles—as they
were designed (see textbox). Specifically, department staff did
not provide core treatment as frequently or as long as expected
by the Department, and core treatment materials were not used
to customize treatment for juveniles. Further, program staff did
not consistently provide behavior management in all housing

See Appendix A (pages a-i through a-vii) for more
information on the Department’s treatment programs.
Source: Auditor General staff summary of the Department’s treatment program
manuals and behavior management manual, and interviews with
department officials.

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

12

1

Lipsey et al., 2001

2

Howell and Lipsey, 2004; Landenberger and Lipsey, 2005; Latessa et al., 2002; Lipsey, 1995; Lipsey, Wilson, and Cothern,
2000; Lowenkamp, Latessa, and Smith, 2006; Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2003

3

Lowenkamp et al., 2006

4

Howell and Lipsey, 2004; Lipsey, 1995; Lipsey et al., 2000

5

Lipsey, 1995

6

Antonowicz and Ross, 1994; Flores, Russell, Latessa, and Travis, 2005; Latessa, 1999; Latessa et al., 2002; Lowenkamp
et al., 2006; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, National Institute of Corrections, 2001

units, limiting the effectiveness of the treatment programming. Finally, the
Department does not provide specialty treatment, such as treatment for sex
offenders, to all juveniles who should be receiving it.

Department’s treatment modeled after best practices—All housing units
(including specialty housing units for sex offenders and those with chemical
dependency or mental health problems) use a core treatment program called
“New Freedom” and all male housing units use a core behavioral program called
“System for Change” as the treatment foundation.1 According to a department
official and documentation, New Freedom has been used in all housing units since
February 2006 and System for Change has been used in all of the male facilities
since February 2008. In addition to the core treatment programming, the
Department has adopted specialty treatment programs. Specialty treatment was
included as part of the Department’s institutional programming after the 1993
Johnson v. Upchurch Consent Decree (See Introduction and Background, page 4,
for more information). Some juveniles who receive specialty treatment live in
specialty housing units (See Appendix A, pages a-i through a-viii, for more
information on the Department’s treatment programs). All of the Department’s
treatment programs use group work as the primary means of treatment and most
of the programs include workbook material that is individually completed by
juveniles and reviewed by staff as needed. Juveniles may also receive individual
counseling through most programs, if needed.

The Department has
adopted core treatment
and specialty treatment
programs for its
juveniles.

Auditors reviewed Department treatment program manuals and the New Freedom
Web site to identify characteristics of treatment program design.2 However, the
Department lacked documentation for some design elements of its treatment
programs. Therefore, auditors relied on information provided by the Department’s
Deputy Director, Clinical Director, and other officials regarding the undocumented
elements of the Department’s treatment programs.3 Specifically, according to
department officials, the Department reviewed best practices when developing its
core treatment and specialty treatment programs. Auditor General staff did not did
not evaluate the Department’s treatment programs to determine if they fully
incorporate best practices. Instead, auditors reviewed individual characteristics of
the Department’s implementation of their treatment programs to determine
compliance with treatment program design. With regard to the factors cited above
as important for program effectiveness, the design of the Department’s treatment
programs meets or exceeds best practices. Specifically:


Type of treatment provided—The Department’s treatment programs are
based on cognitive behavioral approaches—the approaches shown to be
most effective.

1

According to the Department, its one female facility uses a different behavior management system because the
Department determined that the System for Change behavior management system was not yet adapted to its female
population.

2

A.R. Phoenix Resources, Inc., n.d.

3

Both the Department’s Deputy Director and Clinical Director have doctoral degrees in psychology.
Office of the Auditor General
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13



Amount of treatment—Each treatment program should provide a high level of
treatment. For example, the core treatment program is a 175-hour program,
and to meet this requirement, groups should be held 4 days a week in core
treatment units. Also, the Department designed its sex offender treatment
program as a 12- to 18-month program consisting of three sex offender
groups a week in addition to the core treatment groups.



Customizing treatment to meet individual needs—The core treatment
program can be customized to target individual juveniles’ specific risks and
needs.

Treatment frequency and duration do not meet expectations—

None of the housing
units auditors reviewed
provided treatment at
both the specified
frequency and length.

Although the Department’s treatment programs appear sound in design, they fall
short in the actual implementation. Specifically, not all treatment occurs at the
frequency and for the length of time specified by department officials. This was
especially true for the core treatment program. The Department has a total of 25
housing units and none of the nine housing units auditors reviewed provided core
treatment at both the specified frequency and as long as specified. According to
department officials, both core treatment process groups and treatment focus
groups should be held 4 times a week for a total of 8 groups per week in core
housing units. In the specialty housing units, the core treatment process groups
and treatment focus should be held one to two times per week. These group
sessions should last at least 45 minutes. Additionally, according to department
officials and the sex offender treatment program manual, sex offender specialty
units should conduct three sex offender groups a week and chemical dependency
specialty units should conduct two chemical dependency groups each week, for
45-60 minutes each. However:

Core Treatment Groups



According to housing unit staff, only four of the nine
housing units provided the number of core treatment
groups specified (See textbox for a description of the
various types of core treatment groups).



According to housing unit staff and auditors’
observations, none of the nine housing units held core
treatment groups for the specified length of time.



According to housing unit staff, the specialty housing
units auditors reviewed provided sex offender and
chemical dependency groups at the specified
frequency, although auditors observed that two
housing units held group sessions that were shorter in
length than specified.

Process Groups—Juveniles meet in a group setting to
work on issues relevant to their treatment. Groups should
be led by master’s degree-level therapists.
Treatment Focus Groups—Juveniles meet in a group
setting to work on treatment modules (workbook format).
Workbook completion is reviewed by staff for
understanding and thoroughness.
Specialty Groups—Groups designed for juveniles that
address topics such as trauma or anger through group
counseling.
Source: Auditor General staff summary of information from an official job description,
and a department official.

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14

Reasons for not meeting group session expectations varied. For example, one
housing unit’s staff reported that although they typically have either a core
treatment process group or treatment focus group each afternoon, all juveniles
may not receive treatment because they are separated into three groups, and only
one process group and one treatment focus group is offered daily. Another
housing unit’s staff said that they had not provided process groups for 2-3 weeks
because the unit did not have a staff member with the requisite credentials to lead
them.

Customized elements of core treatment program not provided—
Although the core treatment program can be customized for individual needs,
auditors found that this was not being done at the housing units reviewed. The
Department identifies all juvenile’s treatment needs through its assessment and
case planning processes and in addition to the customized treatment offered by
its core treatment program, juveniles specialized needs can be addressed by
referrals to specialty programs. According to a department official and the
program manual, core treatment should be customized once juveniles reach the
third stage of the treatment program (See Appendix A, pages a-i through a-iii, for
more information on the core treatment program). The department official further
stated that customized treatment includes supplemental treatment modules and
participation in core treatment specialty groups based upon individual diagnoses,
risk factors, and problem areas such as anger, depression, and self-injury.
However, according to housing unit staff, none of the nine housing units auditors
reviewed provided the expected, customized core treatment. Specifically, these
units either did not hold specialty core treatment groups, use approved core
treatment specialty materials, and/or follow the program design for customized
core treatment as specified in the core treatment program manual. According to
housing unit staff, some reasons for not providing customized treatment were a
lack of time in the daily schedule and a lack of appropriate or departmentapproved treatment materials.

None of the housing
units auditors reviewed
provided the expected,
customized core
treatment.

Poor behavior management disrupts treatment—Poor

behavior
management on many housing units undermines the therapeutic environment
needed for effective treatment. Shortly after the implementation of the core
treatment program in 2006, the consultant who helped the Department to develop
its core treatment program conducted a program quality review and determined
that “process groups were generally out of control and had no consistent
behavioral structure.” As a result, the Department implemented the System for
Change program in February 2008 because, according to the Department’s
System for Change manual, “a behavior management system provides a structure
for staff members to develop and maintain a therapeutic milieu” (See Appendix A,
page a-viii, for more information on the Department’s System for Change
program).1 Auditors observed juveniles’ behavior during core and specialty

1

Although the central component, System for Change represents only one part of the Department’s behavior
management efforts. Additional components include Alternative Education, Individual Behavior Plan, and Extra Help
Group (See Appendix A, page a-viii, for more information on these components).
Office of the Auditor General
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15

treatment groups at nine of the Department’s 25 housing units and found that,
depending on the treatment program, juvenile behavior, cooperation, and staff
redirection of inappropriate behavior varied widely. Specifically:


Specialty treatment groups generally well managed—Three of the four sex
offender and chemical dependency units that auditors observed fostered a
productive behavioral environment in which to conduct treatment. During
specialty groups, juveniles were minimally disruptive and mostly cooperated
and participated in the group treatment work and dialogue. Additionally,
department staff interacted with all of the juveniles in the specialty groups and
frequently modeled appropriate and respectful behavior and provided good
redirection.



Ineffective behavior management in some core treatment groups—Although
some disruptive behavior is expected from juveniles, for the core treatment
groups that auditors observed, staff did not always effectively redirect
disruptive behavior. Specifically, only one of the eight core treatment groups
auditors observed had juveniles who substantially cooperated and
participated. No group was without disruptive behaviors, and four were
significantly disruptive, with constant discussions, shouting, or other negative
behavior that distracted treatment. For example, during one core treatment
process group, juveniles talked back, ignored redirection, and called the
group leader a “loser.” Redirection did not occur frequently or effectively
enough to reduce the disruptive behaviors.

None of the core
treatment groups were
without disruptive
behaviors.

Specialty treatment not consistently provided to all who should
receive it—According to the Department’s sex offender and chemical
dependency program manuals, juveniles not living in a specialty treatment
housing unit but who nonetheless are adjudicated sex offenders or have been
determined to have a chemical dependency should receive specialty treatment.
However, based on audit work conducted between June and August 2008,
juveniles who did not live in specialty housing units generally did not receive this
treatment. Specifically:


As of August 2008, 29
of 68 adjudicated sex
offenders who resided
in the secure care
facilities were not
receiving sex offender
treatment.
1

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16

Sex offender treatment provided only to adjudicated sex offenders living in
specialty units—During the audit, the Department’s sex offender program
manual indicated that juveniles who were adjudicated sex offenders and were
a low to moderate risk to sexually re-offend may be housed in core housing
units rather than specialty sex offender housing units.1 According to the
program manual and a department official, these juveniles should have
received sex offender group treatment two times a week in addition to their
core treatment programming. As of August 15, 2008, the Department had 68
juveniles who were adjudicated sex offenders and were residing in the
Department’s secure care facilities, 29 of whom were not in a sex offender
housing unit. None of these 29 sex offenders were receiving sex offender

As of January 2009, the Department revised its sex offender treatment program (See Appendix A, page a-vi through aviii for more information).

treatment as specified in the Department’s sex offender program manual. For
example, according to department documentation:
•

Juvenile not receiving sex offender treatment—“Tom” is an adjudicated
sex offender who denies raping a young girl—an attack that also caused
medical injuries. He was committed to the Department in December 2007
with a request from the court that he receive sex offender treatment.
However, Tom has never been placed in a sex offender treatment unit, nor
has he received sex offender-specific treatment as described in the
Department’s sex offender program manual. Staff notes indicate that he
would be very difficult for a sex offender housing unit “to handle
behaviorally” and that the sex offender “program and culture” would not
work with him. In October 2008, while residing in a core treatment
housing unit, the Department began to provide individual counseling to
Tom, every 1-2 weeks with a graduate level counseling intern who
according to the Department, is working under the supervision of a
licensed clinical psychologist. According to progress notes, these
sessions sometimes address his sexual offense. He also began working
on the Department’s sex offender treatment workbook. As of January
2009, department officials indicated that Tom is on a waiting list to be
placed in one of the Department’s sex offender treatment units.

•

Juvenile removed from sex offender treatment because of behaviors—
“John” was an adjudicated sex offender committed to the Department in
July 2005. He was placed in a sex offender treatment unit in October
2005, but was removed from this unit in March 2006. Case notes from
March 28, 2006, state that John continued to sexually act out with peers
in his unit and a “decision was made to unsuccessfully terminate him
from the sex offender unit.” At that time, he was placed in a core
treatment housing unit and over the next 2 years, he was transferred to
three other core treatment housing units primarily for behavioral reasons.
According to department staff, John “never stopped sexually acting out”
and is considered a “risk to younger youth.” Although John received
individual counseling to work on his sexual misconduct issues and
participated in the Department’s core treatment program, there was no
recommendation for John to be on the waiting list for placement in a sex
offender housing unit or for him to receive any type of sex offenderspecific treatment as described in the Department’s sex offender
treatment program manual. In January 2008, John was placed in a core
treatment housing unit designated by the Department as an overflow unit
for sex offenders, but according to department officials, this unit was not
designated as a sex offender treatment unit until September 2008. John
was discharged from the secure care facility in August 2008 when he
turned 18.

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Staff in the sex offender housing units indicated that they were unaware of the
need to provide sex offender treatment to juveniles who are adjudicated sex
offenders living in other housing units. They said they were already working
overtime just to ensure that they provided the required treatment to juveniles
living in the sex offender housing units and that they did not have the time to
provide treatment to those who lived elsewhere. However, as of September
2008, a department official indicated that the Department was providing some
sex offender treatment to juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders and
living in one core housing unit, and stated that the Department needed to
continue working to reach the treatment level indicated in the program
manual.
As of January 2009, the Department reported that it has revised its sex
offender treatment program. The program now consists of three unit-based
sex offender housing units with a maximum capacity of 63 beds. According to
a department official, all juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders should
be placed in one of these three units unless they have successfully completed
sex offender treatment in the past, require mental health treatment before
other treatment, or are placed in core housing units due to an override by the
clinical team or administrative staff. According to a department official,
outpatient treatment is now provided to juveniles who have a history of
sexually reoffending, but have been committed to the Department for a nonsexual offense and to juveniles who have not been adjudicated as a sex
offender, but who have displayed sexually aggressive behaviors in the past or
while in secure care.


Sex offender housing units not following the correct program—The sex
offender treatment program manual outlines a specific treatment format and
curriculum to be provided to all juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders to
ensure consistency and measurability. However, based on interviews with staff
in each sex offender housing unit, one unit uses the department-specified
workbook, but the other unit has never received this workbook. In addition,
both units’ staff stated that they were not following the program model and
had not received the curriculum materials, such as specific activity sheets
suggested in the current program manual. Although a department official
learned in May 2008 that the sex offender units were not following the correct
sex offender treatment program, as of September 2008, the Department had
yet to implement the correct program.



Chemical dependency treatment provided only to juveniles living in
specialized housing units—The situation with regard to chemical dependency
treatment is the same as for sex offenders: treatment is available for juveniles
in housing units dedicated specifically to chemical dependency, but not for
juveniles who have a chemical dependency and reside in other housing units.
Although the Department’s core treatment program, which should be

Sex offender unit staff
indicated that they were
not following the sex
offender treatment
program model and had
not received curriculum
materials.

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18

provided to all juveniles, includes substance abuse treatment, the
Department’s chemical dependency treatment program manual indicates that
juveniles with a diagnosed chemical dependency should receive additional
treatment through the chemical dependency treatment program (See
Appendix A, page a-iv through a-vi, for more information on the Department’s
chemical dependency program). According to the chemical dependency
program manual, the Department provides specialized chemical dependency
treatment through a comprehensive substance abuse program for juveniles
diagnosed with varying levels of chemical dependency or abuse. Juveniles
determined to have a chemical dependency diagnosis with complications and
severity factors and who exhibit some readiness to change are placed in the
chemical dependency housing units. According to the Department’s chemical
dependency program manual, juveniles who have a chemical dependency
diagnosis “without complications or a diagnosis of chemical abuse with
severity factors” and who exhibit some readiness to change should receive
“substance abuse-specific curriculum” and skills training in addition to core
treatment groups. Although these juveniles live in core treatment housing
units, the program manual indicates that they should receive one chemical
dependency group and one skills training group a week, in addition to core
treatment. According to a department official, these juveniles are receiving
only core treatment groups.
The number of juveniles with a chemical dependency is greater than the
number of beds available in chemical dependency housing units. Although
department data shows that 51.3 percent, or 334 juveniles, residing in the
Department’s secure care facilities have a chemical dependency, as of
September 2008, the Department had 132 beds in the chemical dependency
housing units. According to a department official, the number of beds
available for juveniles with a chemical dependency increased in August 2008
as the Department recognized the need for additional programming for this
population, but enough beds are still not available for the number of juveniles
with a chemical dependency. According to a department official, the
Department is focusing on improving the quality of treatment for the juveniles
in the chemical dependency housing units before it turns to the issue of
providing chemical dependency treatment for juveniles assigned to other
housing units.

As of September 2008,
334 juveniles were
classified with a
chemical dependence,
but the Department only
had 132 chemical
dependency beds.

Department should continue efforts to improve
implementation of treatment programs
The Department should continue its efforts to improve the quality and consistency of
the treatment programming it provides to juveniles committed to its care. These
include following the design of programs more closely, developing adequate

Office of the Auditor General
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19

program guidelines, enhancing staff training, ensuring that only qualified staff deliver
treatment, and improving program oversight.

Department needs to follow treatment programs’ designs—The
Department should ensure that its treatment programs are provided as designed.
Specifically, the Department needs to ensure that treatment is provided to all
juveniles at the designed frequency and duration. Also, staff should use treatment
materials that have been approved by department officials. Further, core treatment
should be customized to meet the needs of individual juveniles by providing
juveniles with specific treatment modules and specialty groups that are based on
individual diagnoses. Additionally, sex offender treatment should be provided to all
juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders and to juveniles who have been
identified as at risk for inappropriate sexual behavior as specified in the sex
offender treatment manual. Finally, the Department needs to develop and
implement a plan regarding the provision of chemical dependency treatment to all
juveniles the Department identifies as needing it. If the Department decides that it
cannot implement its current treatment programs as designed, it should revise and
implement its programs in such a manner as to continue to follow the literature on
effective treatment programs.

Department should develop adequate program guidelines—Policies
and procedures and the treatment program manuals do not include clear or
specific guidelines outlining the treatment programs. For example, none of the
core treatment and specialty treatment manuals clearly state how often and at
what length core treatment groups should be provided. As a result, more than half
of the unit staff interviewed indicated that core treatment groups were supposed
to be held for only 30 minutes or less. Auditors determined the appropriate
frequency and duration of these treatment programs through interviews with
department officials as discussed previously. Additionally, the core treatment
program manual does not clearly designate who can serve as group leaders, nor
clearly outline what the treatment groups should cover or how they should be
structured.
As of January 2009, according to a department official and documentation, the
Department has started revising its core treatment leader’s manual, developed
and began implementing core and specialty treatment program templates that
outline necessary treatment for juveniles, developed procedures for monitoring
group leaders, and added guidelines for conducting core treatment groups in its
core treatment program refresher training curriculum.

The Department has
begun efforts to improve
the delivery of its
treatment programs.

Department should enhance staff training—Several

studies of effective
treatment programs indicate that they should be “implemented by well-trained staff
who deliver proven programs as designed.”1,2 According to a department official,
the Department has enhanced some of its training, but auditors found that the

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20

1

Gendreau, Goggin, and Smith, 1999; U.S. Department of Justice, Center for Sex Offender Management, Office of Justice
Programs, 2006; Landenberger and Lipsey, 2005; Latessa, 1999; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, National
Institute of Corrections, 2001; Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2003.

2

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, National Institute of Corrections, 2001

Department does not provide adequate training for all
treatment programs or the behavior management
program. For example, according to a department
official, chemical dependency program training has
improved and all staff on these housing units are
receiving relevant treatment training. In addition, this
official stated that clinical staff cannot lead a chemical
dependency group until they are certified. However,
although all new housing unit staff attend the
Department’s extensive, 6-week, pre-service training
academy and staff receive additional in-service
trainings (see textbox), according to housing unit and
training staff and training transcripts, not all staff
received required training, not all training is seen as
adequate by staff, and there is limited ongoing core
and sex offender treatment program training.
Specifically:

Examples of Department Staff Training
Pre-sservice Training Academy:
Program and Treatment classes—Adolescent
Treatment Issues: Understanding and Managing
Youth, Suicide Prevention, Therapeutic Crisis
Intervention, and System for Change.
Security classes—Safety in Secure Care,
Contraband Searches and Seizures, and Searches
Practicum.
In-sservice Training:
Program and Treatment classes—Continuous Case
Planning, Gender Specific Training, Managing
Juvenile Sex Offenders in the Community, and
Substance Abuse Overview.
Source: Auditor General staff summary of training classes listed on the



Department’s Pre-service Training Academy schedule and a listing of
Behavior management training not received by all
in-service training classes provided by department officials.
staff—Although all housing unit staff are supposed
to receive training in the behavior management
program, System for Change, department training records show that 25 out of
151 staff who worked in the housing units reviewed by auditors had not
received training in the Department’s behavior management program. The
Department implemented this program in February 2008.



Training for core treatment program considered inadequate by staff—Thirteen
of 25 staff auditors interviewed said training for the core treatment program
was inadequate. According to a department official, the Department’s training
academy stopped providing training on the core treatment program as a
stand-alone class in March 2008 because portions of the treatment program
were covered in other training classes. However, according to this official
these classes do not address the actual core treatment program model, the
treatment areas the curriculum covers, or the process groups. Although the
Department reported that when it implemented the core treatment program in
February 2006, more than 90 percent of staff received training in this program,
based on auditor’s review of training records in August 2008, 75 of the 151
staff who worked in the housing units observed by auditors had not received
formal training on core treatment programming. Additionally, 12 of 25 housing
unit staff reported that they had not received practical instruction on how to run
the treatment programs. Finally, although 13 housing unit staff reported that
they lead core treatment process groups, 4 of the 13 reported that they had
never received training in group counseling.



Training for sex offender treatment program likewise considered inadequate—
Three out of the five sex offender housing unit staff interviewed by auditors

Many housing unit staff
reported that they were
not adequately trained
to provide treatment.

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also reported that sex offender treatment training was not adequate.
According to the Department’s sex offender treatment program manual, “sex
offender treatment is a specialized field that requires counselors to possess
skills and training specific to this population.” However, auditors’ review of
training records found that most staff working in the sex offender housing units
have not received any specialized sex offender training. This lack of
specialized training was identified in a previous evaluation of the Department’s
sex offender treatment program.1 According to one housing unit staff, the
Department used to send clinical staff to sex offender certification training outof-state, but according to a department official, this training is no longer
offered because the Department is providing more sex offender treatment inhouse because of the cost of out-of-state certification. The in-house training is
provided by the Department’s Clinical Director of Behavioral Health Services,
who according to the Department, is a nationally recognized expert in the
treatment of juvenile sex offenders. According to a department official, this
training is provided to staff working on sex offender housing units and will
include some staff on core or other specialty housing units who work with
adjudicated sex offenders.

Most staff in the sex
offender housing units
have not received
specialized sex offender
training.



Many staff do not receive ongoing treatment program training—Finally, staff
training records from the nine housing units that auditors reviewed showed
that none of the 151 staff have received formal ongoing training for the core
treatment program, and sex offender housing unit staff do not receive sex
offender training annually. According to a department official, staff working
with sex offenders should receive ongoing training each year on such things
as critical treatment issues, legal issues, and community transition.

As of January 2009, the Department has added core treatment program training
back into its Pre-service Training Academy and has developed and started
providing core treatment program refresher training to its secure care staff.

Qualified professionals should deliver treatment—Consistent

with its
treatment program manuals and recommendations from the core treatment
implementation consultant and federal monitors involved with the U.S. Department
of Justice investigation (see Introduction & Background, pages 4 through 6), the
Department has master’s degree-level mental health provider positions called
psychology associates for each housing unit. These staff are typically responsible
for conducting core treatment process (process) groups and specialty treatment
groups. This position is in line with the literature on effective treatment programs—
the use of qualified mental health providers to provide treatment.2 However,
auditors’ observation of treatment groups and staff interviews showed that this
standard was not always met. For example, in some housing units, case
managers—who may hold only a high school diploma—conduct process groups.

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1

U.S. Department of Justice, Center for Sex Offender Management, 2003

2

U.S. Department of Justice, Center for Sex Offender Management, 2006; Gendreau, et al., 1999; Landenberger and
Lipsey, 2005; Latessa, 1999; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, National Institute of Corrections, 2001;
Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2003

Twenty-two of the 25 housing unit staff (including 10 case managers) auditors
interviewed said case managers lead core treatment process groups at times.
However, this contradicts the recommendations given to the Department by its
core treatment consultant and federal monitors. Although a department official has
stated that some case managers can conduct process groups if they have
received permission from a department psychologist or a clinical supervisor, none
of the case managers interviewed by auditors had received such permission.
Additionally, auditors observed sex offender treatment groups being conducted by
case managers rather than a psychology associate, as specified by a department
official. Specifically, in one of the sex offender units, two sex offender groups were
being held simultaneously and both were facilitated by a case manager, although
the psychology associate was monitoring one of the groups.
High turnover and vacancies among key staff positions within the Department
have contributed to the lack of qualified staff to provide treatment. According to a
department official, the Department experienced a 28 percent turnover rate in its
psychology associate positions in fiscal year 2008, and three of its psychology
associate positions were still vacant as of August 19, 2008, resulting in two
housing units that did not have a psychology associate.

High turnover and
vacancies have
contributed to the lack
of qualified staff to
provide treatment.

Better monitoring and evaluation of treatment delivery needed—
Auditors’ interviews with 25 housing unit staff indicate that the Department
conducts limited monitoring of its treatment programs. This is not consistent with
the literature on effective treatment programming, which supports regular
monitoring and oversight of the program curriculum and staff performance to
ensure program fidelity.1 Nineteen of the 25 unit staff indicated that they had not
been formally monitored while conducting a treatment group or providing
treatment. Further, 17 of the 25 staff stated that they did not receive regular
supervision or feedback on program implementation or behavior management.
Although a department official stated that the facility psychologist or clinical
supervisor is responsible for monitoring treatment groups, only 2 of 25 housing unit
staff reported that a psychologist or clinical supervisor had attended their
treatment groups.
Similarly, with regard to evaluation, although the Department has a standardized
evaluation process and has evaluated some of its treatment programs in the past,
it has not completed any formal internal program evaluations since September
2005. This particular evaluation reviewed the sex offender treatment program at the
Adobe Mountain secure care facility, and identified several areas for improvement
and a lack of a formal evaluation since its start in 1994. Additionally, as a part of
the original implementation plan for the Department’s core treatment program,
monitoring, oversight, and evaluation phases were to be included. According to a
department official, these phases were not completed. The Department’s lack of
regular evaluation of its treatment programs has also been identified by prior

1

Landenberger and Lipsey, 2005; Latessa, 1999; Latessa et al., 2002; Lipsey, 1992; Lipsey, 1995; Lipsey et al., 2000;
Lowenkamp et al., 2006; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, National Institute of Corrections, 2001
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23

outside reviews.1 The Department has acknowledged the need for regular
evaluation and a department official stated that there would be a formal evaluation
of the core treatment program by December 31, 2008.
The Department should provide regular review of treatment programming and
provide staff with feedback on how they are providing treatment. Specifically, the
Department should develop and implement a policy that identifies the groups to
monitor, the methods for conducting monitoring, how often to conduct monitoring,
who should conduct monitoring, and that staff are trained and qualified to conduct
monitoring. Additionally, the Department should establish reporting, feedback,
follow-up, and oversight procedures. Finally, the Department should implement its
evaluation process to ensure regular evaluations are conducted and used to
assess and improve its treatment programs. As of January 2009, the Department
has developed and begun to implement regular supervisory monitoring of
treatment groups. The Department has also developed and started a quality
assurance process for the core treatment program that should be conducted
during internal quality assurance audits of each secure care facility.

Recommendations:
1.1.

The Department should develop and implement policies and procedures
that specify:
a. The frequency and duration of core process, treatment focus, and
specialty groups and specialty treatment program groups;
b. Using approved treatment materials;
c. Customizing treatment to meet the needs of individual juveniles by
providing juveniles with specific treatment modules and specialty
groups that are based on individual diagnoses;
d. Providing sex offender treatment for all adjudicated sex offenders and
for juveniles who have been identified as at risk for inappropriate sexual
behavior; and
e. Developing and implementing a plan to provide chemical dependency
treatment to all juveniles the Department identifies as needing this
treatment.

1.2.

1
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24

If the Department decides that it cannot implement its current treatment
programs as designed, it should revise and implement its programs in such
a manner as to continue to follow the literature on effective treatment
programs.

U.S. Department of Justice, Center for Sex Offender Management, Office of Justice Programs, 2003

1.3.

The Department should develop and implement treatment program policies
and procedures and revise program manuals to clearly guide staff on how
to implement the treatment programs. These policies and procedures
should specify:
a. Who should lead different types of treatment groups and what to do in
cases where appropriate staff are not available;
b. How frequently each type of treatment group should be held;
c. How long treatment groups should last; and
d. Expectations for staff and juveniles’ behavior and participation in the
groups.

1.4.

The Department should develop and implement training programs to ensure
that its staff have the appropriate knowledge and skills to competently
provide treatment. Specifically, the Department should:
a. Ensure that unit staff receive treatment program and behavioral
management training prior to working with the juveniles;
b. Provide clinical staff who work with juveniles who are adjudicated sex
offenders with specialized sex offender training. In addition, the
Department should provide all staff working with juveniles who are
adjudicated sex offenders training on how to interact with and manage
sex offenders. The Department should also ensure that staff receive this
training prior to working with these juveniles;
c. Ensure that staff leading core treatment process and specialty groups
and sex offender and chemical dependency groups are trained on how
to provide group counseling; and
d. Develop and implement policies and procedures for providing staff with
periodic ongoing training for all treatment programs and the behavior
management program.

1.5.

The Department should develop and implement comprehensive monitoring
procedures to ensure that treatment programming is being provided to
juveniles as designed. At a minimum, this should include:
a. What groups to monitor;
b. When and how to monitor;

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25

c. Who should monitor;
d. Identifying qualified staff to monitor and providing training to this staff;
and
e. Reporting, feedback, and follow-up procedures.
1.6.

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The Department should implement its current evaluation process and
ensure that regular evaluations are conducted and used to assess and
improve its treatment programs.

FINDING 2
Decision-making process for juvenile treatment
and release recommendations needs
improvement
The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (Department) should improve the
process it uses to develop a juvenile’s treatment plan and make recommendations
about a juvenile’s release into the community. Recidivism serves as a basic measure
of the Department’s success in rehabilitating juveniles, and approximately one-third
of the juveniles released from secure care in 2006 returned to custody within 12
months of their release. Therefore, anything that can be done to improve the
decision-making regarding a juvenile’s treatment and release is important. The
Department’s multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), which develop treatment plans, review
progress, and make recommendations about release, do not always function as
required and often use unreliable assessment and case-planning information. The
Department should review and monitor the MDTs’ decision-making activity to ensure
that treatment plans and release recommendations better support juveniles’
treatment needs and community re-entry efforts.

Recidivism offers look at Department’s efforts to
rehabilitate juveniles
The Department’s stated mission is to enhance public protection by changing the
delinquent thinking and behavior of juveniles committed to its care. The rate of
recidivism provides the Department with a basic measure of its success in meeting
this mission. Although definitions of recidivism may vary from jurisdiction to
jurisdiction, the Department defines recidivism as a juvenile’s return to custody with
either the Department or the Department of Corrections and measures it at two
different points: return to custody within 12 months, and return to custody within 36
months of release.

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Between 2002 and 2005, approximately 33 percent of juveniles released from the
Department had returned to custody within 12 months of their release.1 Further, for
juveniles released in 2004, 54 percent of them had returned to custody within 36
months of their release. Although many factors outside of the Department’s control
can influence recidivism, the Department attempts to address those factors it can
potentially affect, such as pro-criminal beliefs, conduct problems, and low
educational and/or vocational skills, by providing treatment programming, education,
and community transition services.

Between 2002 and
2005, approximately 33
percent of juveniles had
returned to secure care
within 12 months of their
release.

MDT decision-making process faces challenges
According to a department official, although the Department originally established
multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in 1993, the Department revised MDT procedure in
2005 to strengthen its process for developing juveniles’ treatment plans, assessing
treatment progress, and determining whether juveniles are ready to be released back
into the community. However, these teams and their decision-making process may
be compromised by their use of unreliable assessment and case-planning
information, staff conduct and limited attendance at these meetings, disruptive
meeting environments, and procedural noncompliance.

Multidisciplinary teams
meet weekly and
monthly to review
juveniles’ progress.

MDT develops treatment plan, assesses progress, and
recommends release—The MDT consists of department secure care and
MDT Members:
Youth Program Supervisor—The residential
manager who oversees daily operations of
housing units.
Youth Program Officer III—Secure care case
managers who work with the psychology
associate to develop a juvenile’s treatment
plan.
Psychology Associate—The clinical lead for a
juvenile’s treatment plan.
Youth Corrections Officer—Provides direct
supervision of juveniles on the housing units.
Parole Officer—The juvenile’s case manager in
the community.
Source: Auditor General staff summary of housing unit staff descriptions
found in the Department’s treatment program manuals and formal
job descriptions.

1

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community corrections staff who use assessment and caseplanning information from the Department’s database to
determine a juvenile’s treatment plan, assess his/her progress on
this plan, and recommend release from secure care (see textbox).
Department procedure requires a youth program supervisor to
facilitate these meetings with a psychology associate serving as
both co-facilitator and clinical lead for treatment planning.
The MDT conducts weekly and monthly meetings to review
juveniles’ progress. The weekly meeting, which involves only
secure care staff, reviews overall housing unit issues, such as
safety and security, juvenile’s behavior concerns, and events and
activities. The monthly MDT provides a more comprehensive
update on a juvenile’s progress with staff providing updates on
school performance, housing unit behavior, and group treatment
participation. More people are also involved in the monthly
meeting. Department procedure requires that, in addition to a
youth program supervisor and a psychology associate, the
following individuals attend monthly MDT meetings:

See Introduction and Background, pages 3 through 4, for further discussion of recidivism measures reported by the
Department.



Juvenile;



Education and recreation representatives;



Parole officer and/or family services coordinator;



Youth corrections officer;



Family members, legal guardians, other employees and visitors as deemed
necessary; and



Psychiatric and medical staff when applicable.

Some information for MDT decision-making unreliable—The MDT relies
on information from the Department’s database, called Youthbase, to help make
decisions about the juvenile’s treatment plan, progress, and recommendation for
release. Youthbase contains an integrated assessment instrument and caseplanning tool that allows the MDT to identify juveniles’ treatment needs, develop
treatment plans based on these needs, track treatment progress, and ultimately
make release recommendations. Department procedure requires that a juvenile
undergo an initial assessment within 14 days of his/her
admission to secure care with assessment updates
The Department’s assessment
every 90 days thereafter. The initial assessment and
instrument contains 12 behavioral and
update results are recorded in Youthbase. Department
social domains shown by research to aid
procedure also requires a re-assessment within 30 days
in reducing recidivism. These domains
of a juvenile’s release from secure care to parole and
are:
assessment updates every 90 days thereafter. The
• Risk to Re-offend
assessment measures a juvenile’s progress in 12
• Behavioral Health—Mental and Medical
behavioral and social domains shown by research to aid
• School
in reducing recidivism (see textbox). Information from
• Employment
each assessment automatically transfers into the most
• Family
current case plan in Youthbase to assist the MDT in
• Alcohol and Drugs
treatment planning and release recommendations.
• Aggression
• Sexual Offending
However, the assessment instrument contains some
• Social Influences
unreliable information. Auditors’ review of 90
• Use of Free Time
assessments completed between December 2005 and
• Skills
July 2008 found that secure care and community
• Attitudes and Behaviors
corrections staff completed the assessments in unclear,
Source: Auditor General staff summary of the Department’s Criminogenic
inconsistent, and contradictory ways.1 For the 90
and Protective Factor Assessment (CAPFA) procedure.
assessments, auditors examined selected questions in
the aggression domain for secure care assessments,
the employment domain for community assessments, and the alcohol and drugs
domain for both secure care and community assessments. Based on this review,
auditors identified the following concerns:

1

The Department provided auditors with listings of all juveniles released from secure care in January and September 2007.
Auditors then drew a random sample of 20 juveniles from these listings and reviewed 90 assessments for them. The
assessments included 51 completed by secure care staff and 39 completed by community corrections staff.
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

Aggression domain for many assessments unclear—Thirty-four of the 51
assessments completed for juveniles in secure care contained unclear
responses in the aggression domain. Specifically, auditors found eight
assessments where staff used an inappropriate response category to indicate
if a juvenile planned or attempted to seriously harm others. These unclear
responses could have misled the MDT into believing that these juveniles
engaged in such behavior and perhaps needed immediate crisis intervention
or adjustments to their treatment plans. Further, such misinformation could
have led the MDT to defer release recommendations for these juveniles. In
addition to unclear responses, auditors identified 32 assessments where
reports produced from the aggression domain displayed information different
from what appeared on the database screen. Further, 6 of these 32
assessments also contained inappropriate responses. Such discrepancies
could prompt the MDT to over- or under-react to a juvenile’s current behavior.
In January 2009, the Department corrected the reporting function of the
aggression domain. With this correction, reports produced from this domain
display the same information as what appears on the database screen.

More than 84 percent of
juveniles’ assessments
reviewed by auditors
contained
inconsistencies in the
alcohol and drugs
domain.

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

Employment domain for more than half of assessments reviewed contained
inconsistent information—Twenty-seven of the 39 assessments completed for
juveniles in the community contained inconsistent and contradictory
responses in the employment domain. For example, parole officers noted that
a juvenile was not currently employed in response to one question, yet
provided narrative information in another question or in the case plan showing
that the juvenile was currently employed. Given that the Department sees
employment as a strong positive factor for many juveniles in the community,
contradictory information like this could have led the MDT to misallocate
limited job readiness or vocational rehabilitation resources.



Alcohol and drugs domain information contradictory—Auditors found
contradictory responses in 76 of the 90 assessments for the alcohol and
drugs domain. For example, staff responded that a juvenile was not currently
using alcohol or drugs, yet also responded that the juvenile had used these
substances in the past 90 days. The Department defines current use as any
use within the past 90 days. This contradictory information could have misled
the MDT into believing that these juveniles engaged in such behavior and
perhaps needed adjustments to their treatment plans or caused the MDT to
defer release recommendations for them. For many of these assessments,
Youthbase system constraints left staff little room to respond correctly. For
example, according to a department official, staff must enter a response to the
question on use in the past 90 days or the system application will not allow
them to save the assessment information. In addition, this same official
reported that the value “None” was only added in November 2007. The ability
to enter “None” as a response allows staff to respond consistently for those

juveniles with no current alcohol or drug use. However, auditors reviewed 15
assessments dated after November 2007 for juveniles in the community and
found that none of them contained the “None” response and each contained
contradictory information. Further, regardless of Youthbase system
constraints, auditors identified some assessments where staff simply entered
inconsistent and contradictory responses.
Between July and November 2008, the Department provided secure care
clinical and community corrections staff with additional assessment training to
address reported inconsistencies in the employment and alcohol and drugs
domains. However, in January 2009, auditors notified department officials of
at least two assessments completed in November 2008 and January 2009
where data inconsistencies persisted in these domains.

Staff conduct and lack of attendance detract from successful
meetings—The effectiveness of the MDT depends in part on the professional
conduct, attendance, and participation of its members. In some cases, attendance
and conduct at meetings auditors observed was good. For example, in most MDT
meetings at the Black Canyon secure care facility, staff were attentive throughout
the meetings, and those attending were from both secure care and community
settings. Auditors also observed an MDT meeting at the Catalina Mountain secure
care facility where staff displayed similar behavior and included representatives
from secure care, community corrections, and the regional behavioral health
authority.
Most meetings auditors observed, however, did not meet these standards.
Auditors observed 32 monthly MDT meetings across all of the Department’s
secure care facilities in June and July 2008 and noted the following issues:


Unprofessional conduct—Auditors observed three MDT meetings at the
Adobe Mountain secure care facility where staff displayed unprofessional
conduct by becoming argumentative and confrontational with juveniles.
During these meetings, auditors observed staff openly ridiculing one juvenile
and questioning whether he had actually received good grades in school, and
challenging two other juveniles about their behavior.



Limited attendance by parole officers—Although department procedure
requires parole officers to attend monthly MDT meetings, parole officers did
not personally attend 20 of the 32 MDTs observed by auditors. In these
instances, the facilitator either tried to reach the parole officer by phone or
continued with the meeting using a report previously submitted by the parole
officer. As required by department procedure, parole officers for all 32 MDTs
submitted a written report updating MDT members on transition efforts for
juveniles. However, because parole officers play a central role in developing
and eventually managing a juvenile’s community transition and re-entry plan,
their limited presence at MDT meetings may undermine the Department’s
efforts at re-entry planning.

Parole officers did not
personally attend 20 of
the 32 multidisciplinary
team meetings
observed by auditors.

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

Distractions and interruptions—With the exception of the good meetings
described above, meetings were often very informal and staff were at times
distracted by other tasks. These distractions included staff arriving late to the
meeting and/or leaving before the meeting ended, completing MDT
paperwork that should have been completed prior to the meeting, answering
cell phones, engaging in text messaging, eating lunch, completing other work,
answering e-mail, and doodling on MDT paperwork.

Some MDT environments disruptive—The effectiveness of the MDT process
depends in part on holding meetings in settings that help ensure a juvenile’s
privacy, minimize noise, and allow participants to focus on matters at hand. In
many cases, meetings were held in such settings. For example, at the Catalina
Mountain, Black Canyon, and Eagle Point secure care facilities, meetings were
held in either empty adjoining housing units or staff break rooms with the doors
closed. One unit at Catalina Mountain that lacked such a space draped heavy
plastic sheeting over a hallway housing area to buffer noise and promote privacy.
At the Adobe Mountain secure care facility, however, settings were generally less
conducive to success. Although one unit attempted to promote privacy by placing
sheets on the unit windows, auditors observed noisy and disruptive settings for the
majority of MDT meetings held at Adobe Mountain. Staff opened and closed doors
repeatedly to let various people in and out of the housing unit, cell phones rang,
juveniles in separate adjoining housing areas shouted and/or laughed loudly, and
videos played loudly.

MDT procedure and schedule not followed—Department
Although required to
do so, a youth program
supervisor led only 3 of
the 32 MDT meetings
observed by auditors.

procedure
requires a youth program supervisor to direct the MDT meetings and a psychology
associate to act as the clinical lead for all MDT meetings. However, a youth
program supervisor led only 3 of the 32 MDT meetings observed by auditors. A
youth program officer III assumed this role for the other 29 MDT meetings
observed.
Auditors also observed meetings held out of sequence from the published
schedule. In fact, auditors missed two MDT observation opportunities because
secure care staff did not adhere to the published schedule. According to secure
care staff, they may deviate from the schedule sometimes to accommodate
visitors. Auditors also observed how the length of one meeting (i.e., overly long or
short) can impact the remaining schedule. However, in both instances, this creates
the potential that some staff and community members may lose an opportunity to
participate in the MDT meeting, thereby compromising the thoroughness and
effectiveness of the MDT process.
In March and April 2008, the Department provided secure care and community
corrections staff with MDT training. This training covered topics such as the
purpose of the MDT, staff attendance and conduct, proper meeting environments,
and procedural compliance. However, as reported above, auditor’s observations

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of 32 MDT meetings in June and July 2008 identified problems or challenges in
some or all of these areas. In January 2009, the Department revised its MDT
procedure in part to address issues identified during the audit.

Better controls, oversight, and training needed to improve
MDT process
The Department should take several steps to improve the MDT decision-making
process. These steps include enhancing data controls for the assessment,
overseeing and monitoring assessments and MDT meetings, providing ongoing
training, and clarifying department procedures.

Department should enhance data controls for assessment—Data
controls for the assessment are not sufficient to ensure the reliability of information
contained within it. The existing limited data controls for the assessment allow staff
to enter inconsistent and contradictory information, change responses to
questions that should remain unchanged, complete assessment domains that
they are prohibited from completing by department procedure, and save
assessment updates without needing to change any information. As previously
discussed, in the alcohol and drugs domain portion of the assessment, auditors
found a consistent contradictory pattern in which department staff responded that
a juvenile had no current alcohol or drug use, yet also responded that the juvenile
had used these substances in the past 90 days.
According to department officials, the Department plans to conduct a
comprehensive review of the assessment in 2009 in response to issues raised
during the audit. In addition, these same officials reported that the Department
plans to develop a Youthbase data manual to document all decisions made and
changes implemented to the assessment and other Youthbase applications.

The Department plans
to conduct a
comprehensive review
of the assessment in
2009.

However, the absence of strong data controls allows department staff to violate
stated procedure in several ways:


Department procedure states that only qualified medical or mental health
professionals should complete the medical and mental health domains.
Auditors’ review of the 39 assessments for juveniles in the community
identified 12 assessments where a parole officer appears to have completed
one or both of these domains. Department officials explained that this
apparent procedural violation is due to a programming constraint in the
assessment. According to these officials, the Department plans to revise the
programming to ensure that only authorized personnel are shown to have
accessed these domains.

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Youthbase system
allows parole officers to
be scheduled at
multiple MDT meetings
at the same time.



Department procedure states that only a qualified mental health care
professional can complete the alcohol and drugs domain for secure care
assessments. However, auditors identified that for 5 of the 51 assessments
completed in secure care, other staff completed this domain.



Department procedure requires parole officers to complete a re-assessment
of most domains, except for the medical and mental health domains, within
30 days of a juvenile’s release from secure care. However, auditors identified
five assessments where this update had not been done within the specified
time frame.

In addition to limited data controls, the scheduling function within the Youthbase
system allowed secure care staff to schedule parole officers for multiple MDT
meetings at the same time at different housing units. This created scheduling
conflicts for parole officers and affected their ability to attend all of the MDT
meetings. In January 2009, the Department began implementation of an
automated scheduler in Youthbase to prevent these types of scheduling conflicts.
The Department should continue its efforts to implement the automated scheduler
and monitor it to ensure that parole officers do not experience scheduling conflicts
for MDT meetings.

Department should enhance oversight and monitoring of
assessments and MDT meetings—Although some oversight exists for
initial assessments, there appears to be minimal oversight for subsequent
updates, thereby increasing the likelihood that data inconsistencies may go
undetected. A similar lack of oversight exists for the MDT process. Specifically:

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

Assessment needs enhanced oversight and monitoring—Department
procedure requires that the department psychologist review and approve
initial assessments. However, in subsequent secure care assessments, the
psychologist or clinical supervisor is required to review and authorize only the
mental health domain. Updates to the remaining 11 assessment domains are
not subject to any clinical or supervisory review, whether completed for
juveniles in secure care or the community.



MDT needs enhanced monitoring—Although the Department’s Quality
Assurance unit began monitoring MDT meetings in February 2007, these
reviews tend to focus primarily on staff attendance and proper documentation.
There appears to be little other oversight and review by either management or
clinical staff to ensure proper staff attentiveness and conduct, procedural
compliance, schedule adherence, and appropriate meeting environments. Of
the 32 MDT meetings auditors observed, only one was attended by a facility
psychologist, and two were attended by a facility assistant superintendent.

As previously discussed, the Department revised its MDT procedure in
January 2009. According to department officials, the Department’s Quality
Assurance unit plans to use this procedure to monitor MDT meetings on a
regular basis.

Training needed to improve staff understanding and use of
assessment—Auditors conducted 22 interviews with secure care and
community corrections staff and found that some confusion exists over the
purpose of the assessment. For example, several secure care staff and community
corrections staff did not fully understand that the assessment provides an
objective measure of a juvenile’s treatment progress over time. In fact, two staff
reported that the Department has not developed a test or tool that provides this
information. Further, most of the staff who expressed a limited understanding of the
assessment also reported using only parts of the assessment information
available. In response to this reported confusion, the Department provided secure
care clinical and community corrections staff with additional assessment training
between July and November 2008. In addition, the Department should provide
refresher assessment training to its secure care clinical and community corrections
staff on a regular basis.

The Department
provided assessment
training between July
and November 2008
and should provide
regular refresher
training.

Assessment procedure needs improvement—Department

procedure
does not require updates of the medical and mental health domains once a
juvenile returns to the community on parole. Although clinical staff complete these
domains for juveniles in secure care as required by procedure, community
corrections staff reported that the Department does not staff these positions in the
community because of budget constraints. However, opportunity exists to use
qualified family services coordinators in this role. Family services coordinators in
community corrections can view information in the mental health domain but
cannot update it. Some of these staff possess credentials similar to clinical staff in
secure care.
In December 2008, the Department implemented a new procedure requiring
contracted service providers to report updated mental health information for
juveniles in the community every month. In addition, this procedure requires the
Department’s family services coordinators to enter this information into the mental
health domain of the assessment every 90 days. Although this procedure helps to
ensure current mental health information for juveniles receiving services paid for by
the Department, it does not account for those juveniles whose services are paid
for by other entities or who receive services from family service coordinators.
However, regardless of who pays for a juvenile’s treatment services in the
community, the Department should identify clinically trained and credentialed
family services coordinators and use them to update the mental health domain
every 90 days for those juveniles in the community who the Department has
determined need ongoing assessment because of high risk and needs in this
area. Further, family services coordinators should then provide parole officers with
the information needed to help juveniles address problems in this area.

Office of the Auditor General
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35

Recommendations:
To improve the decision-making processes related to juveniles’ treatment plans and
recommendations for release, the Department should:
2.1.

State of Arizona
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36

Make the following improvements to its assessment and scheduler in
Youthbase:
a.

Implement data controls throughout the assessment to minimize the
potential for data inconsistencies and eliminate the current practice of
allowing staff to save an assessment without changing/updating any
data;

b.

Establish controls that limit assessment updates to only those
questions that should change and ensure that only authorized staff can
complete certain domains; and

c.

Continue efforts to implement the automated scheduler and monitor it
to ensure that parole officers do not experience scheduling conflicts for
MDT meetings.

2.2.

Revise its procedures on assessments to require greater clinical or
supervisory review of assessments conducted after the initial assessment.

2.3.

Monitor the MDT process on a regular basis for staff attendance,
attentiveness, and conduct as well as procedural compliance, schedule
adherence, and appropriate meeting environments.

2.4.

Provide all secure care clinical and community corrections staff with
refresher assessment training on a regular basis.

2.5.

Identify clinically trained and credentialed family services coordinators and
use them to update the mental health domain every 90 days for those
juveniles in the community who the Department has determined need
ongoing assessment because of high risk and needs in this area. Further,
family services coordinators should then provide parole officers with the
information needed to help juveniles address problems in this area.

FINDING 3
Department should better support juveniles’ transition to
the community
The Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (Department) should improve its
practices for transitioning juveniles into the community. Planning for and supporting
a juvenile’s transition into the community is important because it may reduce the
likelihood of a juvenile re-offending. Although the Department begins planning for a
juvenile’s return to the community shortly after his/her arrival in secure care, the
Department often does not place juveniles in community services after they are
released on parole or does not do so in a timely manner. The Department can better
support juveniles’ timely transition back into the community by further developing
relationships with outside agencies that also work with juveniles and developing and
implementing various policies and practices that would support successful transition.

Effective community transition critical to juveniles’
success
Effective transition of juveniles from secure care into the community can help
juveniles successfully reintegrate and can reduce their chances of having further
contact with the juvenile or adult justice systems. Research shows that a failure to
effectively transition juveniles from confinement into the community places those
juveniles at a higher risk for re-offending and may unnecessarily endanger the
community.1 In addition, department management has stated that transition planning
is needed to support juveniles’ reconnection with their communities.

Effectively transitioning
juveniles from
confinement into the
community reduces the
risk for re-offending.

The transition phase of community re-entry, defined in the literature as from 1 month
before release to as much as 6 months after release, is a critical time for juveniles to
establish routines and support systems that can help reduce the likelihood of
recidivism.2 The National Partnership for Juvenile Services, recognizing the
importance of successfully reintegrating juveniles into the community after
1

Abrams, 2006

2

Abrams, 2006
Office of the Auditor General
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37

incarceration, published the Desktop Guide to Reentry for Juvenile Confinement
Facilities (Desktop Guide) to support practitioners’ reintegration of juveniles into the
community.1 Effective transition allows juveniles to re-establish and/or establish new
connections in their home communities.2 Connections to family, school,
employment, and other community-based services can help a juvenile experience
success in the community. In addition, such connections may protect the juvenile
against engaging in behavior that places him/her at greater risk of re-offending or
failing parole.3 Research indicates that juveniles who remain in the community for at
least 4 months and participate in anti-social behavior began participating in those
activities within about 1 month after returning to the community.4

Juveniles transitioned into the community do not always
receive needed services or do not receive them in a
timely manner
The Department has taken various actions to support juveniles’ transition into the
community, but has not consistently placed juveniles with needed services. Auditors’
review of case records for a sample of 58 juveniles on parole found that the
Department did not place many of these juveniles into needed community services
or did not do so in a timely manner. The Department’s challenges with connecting
juveniles to services may place these juveniles at an increased risk to violate parole.

Department does not place or is slow to place juveniles with
community services—Although the Department relies on various processes
to help transition juveniles from secure care to the community, it sometimes does
not place many of them with any community services, and for those the
Department does place, the placement sometimes takes too long. The
Department begins planning for juveniles’ transition as soon as a juvenile is
committed to its care. This planning includes assigning a parole officer to the
juvenile who will work with him/her in both secure care and the community to
support his/her transition. In addition, the Department implemented policy and
procedures in May and July 2008 designed to support juveniles’ progress toward
leaving secure care and entering the community. The policy and procedures
outline the treatment steps juveniles must take to earn their release to the
community and assign specific staff to be responsible for actions supporting a
juvenile’s release. In addition, department officials stated that they have
maintained the goal of placing 85 percent of juveniles in community educational or
vocational rehabilitation programs, and/or employment.

Planning for juveniles’
transition to the
community begins when
the juvenile is
committed to the
Department’s care.

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1

Zimmerman, Hendrix, Moeser, and Roush, 2004

2

Abrams, 2006; Chung, Schubert, and Mulvey, 2007; National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2002;
Zimmerman et al., 2004

3

Abrams, 2006; Bullis and Yovanoff, 2002; Zimmerman et al., 2004

4

Chung et al., 2007

Finally, in February 2008, the Department and community representatives
participated in a workshop that focused on needed actions and strategies for
improving the transition of juveniles from secure care to the community. Following
this workshop, the Department developed a strategic plan, which specifies several
actions it will take to better transition juveniles into the community. These include
improving the Department’s relationship with community partners by increasing its
representation in the community, working to identify appropriate services for
juveniles re-entering the community, and establishing a consistent clinical
supervision program for juveniles in the community.
Although the Department works independently and, in some cases, cooperatively
with other state agencies to connect juveniles with community services, these
efforts and planning have not necessarily translated into effective action. Auditors
conducted a file review of a random sample of 58 male juveniles released to their
homes from secure care in 2007 and assigned to parole offices in Maricopa and
Pima Counties. The review showed that 9 of these juveniles, or more than 15
percent, received none of their predetermined support services such as education,
employment, behavioral health counseling, or vocational rehabilitation within 6
months of their release into the community or by the time they were returned to
secure care if that occurred prior to 6 months. Auditors found that 33 of the 58
juveniles, or nearly 57 percent, received some services within 6 months of their
release, but not all of the services identified as needed to support their transition
to the community. For example, as shown in Table 4, although 55 of the 58
juveniles should have been enrolled in school or some other educational program,
only 28 of these juveniles, or 51 percent, were enrolled in school or an educational
program within 6 months after the juvenile’s release to the community. In addition,
only 27 of the 45 juveniles, or 60 percent, who needed to be placed in a job once
released to the community found employment within 6 months of their release.

Table 4:

Analysis of the First 6 Months of Parole for 58 Released Juveniles
Calendar Year 2007

Community Placement
Education
Employment
Source:

Nine of 58 juveniles
received none of their
predetermined support
services once released
to the community.

Number of
Juveniles to be
Placed
55
45

Number of
Juveniles
Placed
28
27

Median Days to
Placement
19
26

Auditor General staff analysis of a random sample of 58 juveniles released from secure care into
the community in calendar year 2007.

Finally, for those juveniles who received education or employment services, the
Department was not always timely in placing these juveniles in these services. As
shown in Table 4, for those juveniles who were placed in school or an educational
program, half were placed within 19 days following their release to the community.
However, over 32 percent of these juveniles took longer than a month to be placed
in an education program. For those juveniles who obtained employment, half
obtained a job within 26 days of their release.

Office of the Auditor General
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39

Auditors could not determine whether juveniles received needed vocational
rehabilitation services through the Department of Economic Security’s (DES)
vocational rehabilitation program or behavioral health services through nondepartment-funded providers. The Department has not been able to account for
services provided by the DES vocational rehabilitation program because,
according to a department official, DES could not provide that information.
According to this same official, the Department terminated its contract with DES for
vocational rehabilitation services in August 2008 after several attempts to obtain
the information. In addition, although the Department tracks the behavioral health
services it funds, it does not track behavioral health services paid for by juveniles’
guardians or by Regional Behavioral Health Authorities (RBHAs).1

Failure to obtain needed services may increase risk that juveniles
violate their parole—The potential for a juvenile to violate his/her parole is
considerable.2 For the 58 juveniles reviewed, auditors found that 33 juveniles
violated their parole within 6 months following their release to the community. Of
those 33 juveniles, the Department returned 28 to secure care.
Although several factors contribute to the risk that a juvenile will violate parole, for
the random sample of 58 juveniles that auditors reviewed, placement in needed
services may have reduced this risk. Auditors reviewed all 58 juveniles to
determine if employment or education had an impact on their success while on
parole, regardless of whether employment or education was part of their parole
responsibilities. Auditors found that for the 26 juveniles who did not find
employment within 6 months of their release to the community, only 4 juveniles
were still in the community at 6 months, while 22 juveniles had violated parole
within 6 months. In contrast, for the 32 juveniles who found employment, 20 were
still in the community at 6 months, while 12 violated their parole within 6 months.
For these 58 juveniles, this suggests a significant relationship between juvenile
employment and success while on parole. Although not as significant, for the 29
juveniles who were not enrolled in school or an educational program within 6
months of their release to the community, 10 juveniles were still in the community
at 6 months, while 19 juveniles had violated parole. For the 29 juveniles enrolled in
school, 14 were still in the community at 6 months and 15 had violated parole.

Twenty-two of 26
juveniles who did not
find employment
violated parole within 6
months.

Improved relationships and policies needed to better
support transition
The Department can better support juveniles’ transition to the community by further
developing its formal and informal relationships with community participants,
developing and implementing various operational policies and practices, and
improving its tracking of success in helping juveniles transition into the community.

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40

1

The State of Arizona contracts with managed-care organizations called “Regional Behavioral Health Authorities,” or
RBHAs, to administer behavioral health services in specific geographic services areas of the State.

2

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2002

Department should continue to develop
relationships—According to the Desktop Guide,

formal

agency

relationships between
juvenile correction centers and community participants need to be strong enough
to provide juveniles with the best chance to succeed in the community.1 According
to this guidance, well-developed relationships help ensure that juveniles receive
support during re-entry into their communities by using agency and community
resources effectively, providing feedback and sharing information, fostering new
ideas and approaches between collaborators, and maintaining relationships
through monitoring and assessment of outcomes.
The Department has established good working relationships with the State’s
contracted RBHAs that assist with juveniles’ transition to the community. The
Department has formal inter-agency cooperative agreements with the State’s four
RBHAs that define expectations and responsibilities for the Department and
RBHAs in serving and supporting juveniles. According to the Department, the
RBHAs provide behavioral health care services to the Department’s juveniles
through regional providers or organizations. A department official reported that
before the agreements were developed, the Department had loosely defined
processes for interacting with the RBHAs, which resulted in service gaps for
juveniles. For example, one RBHA employee indicated that before the agreements,
the RBHA had a backlog of unaddressed referrals from the Department. Through
the agreements, the Department and RBHAs have defined responsibilities. In one
of the agreements, the Department is responsible for pre-screening juveniles for
public healthcare eligibility, while the RBHA is responsible for researching any prior
provider network involvement with the juveniles. In addition, the agreements
establish service time frames and frequencies. For example, the Department must
communicate changes in a juvenile’s release date to one RBHA within 3 working
days and the agreement designates that the same RBHA should participate in
weekly multidisciplinary team meetings (See Finding 2, pages 27 through 36, for
discussion of these meetings). Department officials and a RBHA staff member
reported that this has reduced service gaps, standardized communication, and
supported problem resolution.

The Department has
formal agreements with
RBHAs that define
expectations and
responsibilities for
serving and supporting
juveniles.

A similar agreement is needed with the Department of Economic Security’s Child
Protective Services (CPS) program. The Department shares responsibility with
CPS for providing care to some juveniles, making coordination between the two
agencies important. In May 2008, the Department began meeting with CPS
program representatives to further define each agency’s responsibilities and to
share processes. The Department should continue to meet with CPS and should
also develop a formal agreement similar to the formal agreements it has with the
RBHAs. The agreement should define the responsibilities of both agencies and the
staff responsibilities for various processes, including attendance at key
department meetings, establishing time frames for when actions should be taken,
and specifying a problem-solving process.

1

Zimmerman et al., 2004
Office of the Auditor General
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41

The Department should ensure that it assesses and monitors the implementation
of its formal inter-agency cooperative agreements. For example, the Department
should continue its initial efforts with the RBHAs to create a process for continual
assessment and monitoring. Going forward, the Department should ensure that all
formal agreements include similar processes.

Department should enhance its informal agency relationships—In
addition to formal agreements, the Department, through its staff, has established
informal relationships with other agencies and community participants. In several
cases, department officials indicated that these relationships involve designated
department representatives or liaisons who meet with other agencies to address
matters of interest or concern. For example, one of the Department’s court and
community liaisons meets with juvenile court, probation, county attorney, and
RBHA personnel. However, the Department has not established these types of
relationships with education programs and non-DES vocational rehabilitation
programs to help support juveniles’ transition into these services. Therefore, the
Department should:


Therefore, the Department should leverage its existing resources to create a
Community Education Liaison position who can work with community
education programs to support juveniles’ transition into their programs. This
liaison should work with education programs to identify, document, and
access other educational opportunities for juveniles who are struggling to reintegrate into traditional classrooms. A department official indicated that the
Department is already in the process of converting a staff position into a
position that specializes in community outreach, resource development, and

The Department is in the
process of converting a
staff position into a
community outreach
position.

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Improve liaison efforts with school programs—According to department
officials and staff, schools’ resistance in accepting juveniles from the
Department is one reason juveniles’ enrollment may be delayed. The U.S.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention indicates that many
juveniles who are involved with the justice system have histories of truancy
and suspension.1 The Department’s juveniles show similar behaviors. As a
result, schools may resist the return of juveniles who are eligible for one of their
grades or programs. This may impact how the Department’s staff engage with
community programs. For example, a community corrections staff person
indicated that she will sometimes not attempt to enroll a juvenile in a school
based on her knowledge of that school’s resistance to the Department’s
juveniles. In addition, a department official and staff indicated that community
corrections staff do not have the support of a liaison to connect juveniles with
education. The U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
recommends partnerships between the justice and education systems to
support juvenile re-entry and address delayed access to community schools
and the shortage of appropriate schools for juveniles leaving custody.2

1

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2004

2

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2004

problem resolution. Additionally, the Department should identify relevant
events, such as conferences and trainings, that the Department could use to
communicate with and receive feedback from educators regarding the special
needs of its juveniles.


Expand vocational rehabilitation opportunities for juveniles—The Department
uses vocational rehabilitation to teach job skills to juveniles and help them find
employment. Department staff and an official stated that they relied on both
the DES and other community-based vocational rehabilitation programs to
serve the Department’s juveniles in the community. However, as previously
mentioned, the Department terminated its contract with DES for vocational
rehabilitation services in August 2008. Department officials stated that they
terminated the contract because they could not determine what services DES
had provided to its juveniles. Yet, statute requires DES to help provide needed
services to the Department’s eligible juveniles.1 Since terminating the contract,
a department official stated that the Department has met with DES to discuss
how to streamline the process of qualifying juveniles for services, expediting
placement, and providing documentation and data on the services provided
to juveniles. In addition, department officials reported that the Department has
begun using a vocational rehabilitation liaison to work with DES at some of its
district offices. The Department should continue to develop its relationship
with DES and ensure it can track the vocational rehabilitation services DES
provides.

The Department should
continue to work with
DES to provide
vocational rehabilitation
services to juveniles.

Additionally, department community corrections staff indicated that they work
one-on-one with many regional job training and job-finding services that
support vocational rehabilitation and/or education. However, identifying these
types of regional job training or vocational rehabilitation programs is often
based on the individual skill level of department staff without centralized
department support or formal contracts or agreements. As a result, some
juveniles may not have access to these services. Therefore, the Department
should use its vocation rehabilitation liaison position and/or other staff
resources to identify and contract for relevant job training and vocational
rehabilitation programs for its juveniles. This position should also identify
relevant events, such as conferences and trainings, that the Department could
use to communicate with and receive feedback from community vocation
program directors regarding the needs of its juveniles. The Workforce
Development Committee, established by the Department and consisting of
Department staff and community partners, can also assist in this effort.
Finally, as department staff identify and/or develop both educational and
vocational rehabilitation programs and opportunities in the community, these
programs and opportunities should be shared throughout the Department. In
fact, the Department has established a committee consisting of some of its
administrators and staff that could support this purpose. This committee
1

Arizona Revised Statutes §§23-501, 23-503, and 23-506 define and set forth the duties and powers of the Department of
Economic Security’s vocational rehabilitation program and those eligible for its assistance.
Office of the Auditor General
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43

meets quarterly and brings administrators and staff together to share
information regarding meetings held in the community and to encourage interagency collaboration.

Department should improve transition policies and practices—
Although the Department has adopted, or is in the process of adopting,
procedures for supporting the transition of difficult-to-place juveniles in the
community and for ensuring staff meet weekly to discuss juvenile cases for those
juveniles who need out-of-home placements, it should also improve its policies
and practices for obtaining the documentation a juvenile needs when he/she
transitions into the community. Specifically:
Employment and
educational
opportunities for
juveniles transitioning
back to the community
may be negatively
impacted by a lack of
needed documentation.

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

Ensuring juveniles have needed documentation—According to the
Department’s staff, employment and educational opportunities for juveniles
who are transitioning back into the community are sometimes negatively
impacted because needed documentation is not available. Auditors’
observation of a parole officer in the field and review of the Department’s case
records for the random sample of 58 juveniles also found that a lack of
documentation may have a negative impact on juveniles’ transition into the
community. Juveniles need documents such as transcripts, birth certificates,
and social security cards to transition into schools, jobs, vocational
rehabilitation programs, and programs like the Arizona Health Care Cost
Containment System, the State’s Medicaid program. For example:
•

After one juvenile’s release from secure care, he was not able to enroll in
school because he lacked important documentation, such as his birth
certificate and school transcripts. Community corrections staff obtained
his school transcripts a week after the juvenile’s release, but the juvenile’s
case file does not mention if he ever received his birth certificate. Within
2 weeks of this juvenile’s release, the juvenile had a revocation hearing to
consider his return to secure care. The juvenile was never enrolled in
school or an education program while on parole. The juvenile absconded
from parole just over 4 weeks after his release and the Department
eventually returned him to secure care after he had been on parole for
about 2½ months.

•

According to a community corrections staff member, a grocery store
manager delayed a juvenile’s start date for employment until he could
show proof of citizenship. The staff member indicated that while
community corrections staff waited for the juvenile’s grandmother to
provide a birth certificate, the juvenile ran away. At the time he ran away,
this juvenile had been in the community for more than 11 weeks without
a job. The juvenile violated parole and was returned to secure care shortly
after absconding.

Department staff indicated that the Department’s educational records for
juveniles are not always up to date regarding the schools attended prior to
being detained and staff often need to verify transcripts prior to enrolling
juveniles in new schools. In addition, department staff indicated that
citizenship documents such as birth certificates and social security cards
often take longer than expected to obtain from the juveniles’ guardians or
other states. Therefore, the Department should ensure its policies and
procedures include set timelines and staff responsibilities for obtaining a
juvenile’s necessary identification, transcripts, and other documentation prior
to transitioning into the community.


Creating a single parole plan—The Desktop Guide recommends the
development of a plan that supports juveniles’ re-entry into the community.1
However, the Department does not have a single documented plan that
identifies a juvenile’s needed services and responsibilities while on parole.
Instead, the Department provides this information on at least three different
documents and these documents may list different responsibilities, provide
varying levels of guidance to department staff, and contain contradictory
information. For example, the Department released a juvenile from secure
care into the community in June 2007. Although the juvenile’s Transition Parole
Office Report indicated he was “too young to work,” he was more than 16
years of age at the time of his release and had discussed the possibility of
obtaining services from DES’ vocational rehabilitation program or employment
with his parole officer. In addition, the Transition Parole Officer Report indicated
he should have follow-up care from a RBHA, but his Case Plan Community
Report indicated that he should receive individual counseling from community
corrections staff. Finally, the juvenile’s Administrative Status Report for
Conditional Liberty indicated that he needed to enroll in an education
program, but this report made no mention of employment, vocational
rehabilitation, or behavioral health services.

The Department does
not have a single plan
that identifies a
juvenile’s responsibilities
while on parole.

Creating a single parole plan would eliminate contradictory information and
more clearly identify expectations of juveniles while on parole. Community
participants, including a juvenile’s guardian, the juvenile, and the
Department’s community corrections staff, could rely on one well-defined,
individualized transition plan to help support and hold a juvenile accountable
for his/her transition to and actions while on parole. Therefore, the Department
should develop and implement policies and procedures that require the
development of a single, unified parole plan for its juveniles prior to their
transition to the community. The plan should define a juvenile’s responsibilities
while on parole, list needed services, and serve as a guide to department and
other agency staff regarding the support that should be provided to the
juvenile while he/she is in the community.

1

Zimmerman et al., 2004
Office of the Auditor General
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45

Department should track transition outcomes—Department management
and community corrections staff stated that there are many milestones that
juveniles can reach in the community that show both small and large successes.
According to the Desktop Guide, juvenile justice agencies must use data to make
wise decisions and, once a quantitative system is in place, data can be used to
track and observe a juveniles’ progress toward re-entry goals.1 However, the
Department has established few goals, has not measured outcomes, and has not
used available data in a way that would support an understanding of juveniles’
success on parole. For example, although the Department’s education leadership
established a goal that 85 percent of juveniles released to the community would
be placed with an education program, vocational education, or a job, the
Department does not track how long it takes for juveniles to be placed with one of
these activities, how long juveniles maintain employment or engage in a program,
or how long it takes a juvenile to transition to a new activity if participation in the
first activity stops or if a juvenile’s parole responsibilities change. In addition, the
Department does not use the data it gathers in an effective manner. For example,
the Department may document when a juvenile finds employment in the
community, but this information is not entered into the Department’s database and
analyzed with other juveniles’ data to determine whether juveniles under the
Department’s care successfully find employment and/or whether department staff
adequately support juveniles’ efforts to find employment.

The Department does
not track measures of
success for juveniles on
parole.

Therefore, the Department should establish goals, objectives, and measures to
track juveniles’ success in transitioning to the community. Additionally, the
Department should ensure that those goals include the goals defined in a
juvenile’s parole plan and that it tracks and monitors the established goals,
objectives, and measures.

Recommendations:
3.1.

To better transition juveniles back into the community, the Department
should improve and expand working relationships with outside
organizations that also work with juveniles by:
a.

1
State of Arizona
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46

Continuing to meet with the Department of Economic Security, Child
Protective Services and developing an agreement similar to the formal
agreements it has with the RBHAs. The agreement should define the
responsibilities of both agencies and the staff responsibilities for various
processes, including attendance at key department meetings,
establishing time frames for when actions should be taken, and
specifying a problem-solving process;

Zimmerman et al., 2004

b. Ensuring all formal agreements have objective measurements and
processes to hold participants accountable for their actions;
c. Leveraging its existing resources to create a Community Education
Liaison to work with community education programs to help transition
juveniles into public schools. The Community Education Liaison should
work to identify, document, and access other educational opportunities
for juveniles who are struggling to re-integrate into traditional
classrooms;
d. Identifying relevant events, such as conferences and trainings, that the
Department could use to communicate with and receive feedback from
educators regarding the special needs of its juveniles;
e. Continuing to develop its working relationship with the Department of
Economic Security (DES) and ensure that it can track the services that
DES provides;
f.

Using its vocation rehabilitation liaison position and/or other staff
resources to identify and contract for relevant job training and vocational
rehabilitation programs for its juveniles. This position should also
identify relevant events, such as conferences and trainings, that the
Department could use to communicate with and receive feedback from
community vocation program directors regarding the needs of its
juveniles; and

g. Continuing to use existing committees to share information regarding
both educational and vocational rehabilitation programs and
opportunities in the community that Department staff identify and/or
develop.
3.2.

To better support juveniles’ transition back into the community, the
Department should develop and implement additional policies and
procedures that:
a. Include set timelines and staff responsibilities for obtaining a juvenile’s
necessary identification, transcripts, and other documentation prior to
transitioning to the community;
b. Require the development of a single, unified parole plan for its juveniles
prior to their transition to the community. The plan should define a
juvenile’s responsibilities while on parole, list needed services, and
serve as a guide to department and other agency staff regarding the
support that should be provided to the juvenile while he/she is in the
community; and

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c. Require the development of goals, objectives, and measures to track
juveniles’ success in transitioning and the monitoring and tracking of
those goals, objectives, and measures. The Department should ensure
that those goals include the goals defined in a juvenile’s parole plans.

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OTHER PERTINENT
INFORMATION
During the course of the audit, auditors collected information regarding Arizona
Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §8-246(B), which requires the Arizona Department of
Juvenile Corrections to release committed juveniles at age 18, regardless of
rehabilitative treatment progress.

Most juveniles “age out” of Department’s jurisdiction
The majority of juveniles committed to the Department are released from jurisdiction
not because they complete rehabilitative treatment, but because they turn 18 and
must be discharged in accordance with A.R.S. §8-246(B). The statutorily required
age for release, as well as the late date at which some juveniles are committed to the
Department, contributes to the high percentage of age-related discharges. Most
other states retain jurisdiction of juveniles on parole or aftercare beyond 18, typically
until age 21.

Most juveniles do not complete rehabilitation before turning 18—
Most juveniles under the Department’s supervision “age out” of jurisdiction based
on the age limits established in state law and not because they have completed
their rehabilitation. As required by A.R.S. §8-246(B), the Department’s jurisdiction
terminates at age 18 and juveniles are automatically discharged from the
Department’s jurisdiction. According to department data, 86 percent of its juvenile
Just over 4 percent of
the juveniles in the
population released from 2002 through 2005 turned 18 while under its jurisdiction
Department's care earn
an absolute discharge.
(see Figure 1, page 50). As a result, most juveniles committed to the Department
obtain their full release not because they successfully completed
rehabilitation, but because they turned 18 years of age. The
Absolute Discharge—Juveniles who
Department releases approximately 29 percent of these juveniles
complete their treatment, rehabilitation,
directly from secure care. By contrast, only 4.6 percent of
and education and who show that there
juveniles earn an absolute discharge (see textbox) or
is a reasonable probability they will
successfully complete rehabilitation.
obey the law and not be a threat to
public safety can be discharged from
the Department’s supervision.
Source: Auditor General staff summary of statute and
department policy.

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Figure 1:

Reasons for Juvenile Discharges from Department’s Jurisdiction
Calendar Years 2002 through 2005
Other
(1.8%)

Absolute discharge
(4.6%)

Convicted of
criminal offense
(7.9%)

Become 18 years of age
(85.7%)

Source:

Auditor General staff analysis of unaudited juvenile discharge data prepared by
department staff.

Department typically receives older juveniles—One contributing factor to
the high percentage of age-related discharges is that the Department receives
many adjudicated juveniles 2 years or less before their eighteenth birthday. In fiscal
year 2008, 64 percent of juveniles were 16 or older when committed to the
Department for the first time.
Statutes do not grant the Department the ability to extend jurisdiction for
committed juveniles contingent upon treatment progress. Based on a 1979
Arizona Supreme Court decision, it is unconstitutional for the Department to retain
a juvenile after age 18.1 Statutes also do not allow the Department to extend
services on a voluntary basis. Conversely, the Department of Economic Security,
Child Protective Services and the Juvenile Court, which supervises juveniles in the
probation system, can extend services to juveniles beyond age 18. However,
according to management staff at the Maricopa and Pima County Juvenile Courts,
they rarely do this.

Other states retain jurisdiction beyond age 18—According to information
from the Association of Juvenile Compact Administrators, 35 of the 50 states can
retain jurisdiction of juveniles on parole or aftercare beyond the age of 18, typically
until age 21.2 For example, Arizona’s neighboring states, including California, Utah,
Colorado, and New Mexico, all retain jurisdiction over juveniles until at least age
20, and in some cases beyond. In accordance with an Interstate Compact, the
Department supervises juveniles on parole in Arizona from other states and

Thirty-five of 50 states
can retain jurisdiction
over delinquent juveniles
beyond age 18.

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1

In the Matter of the Appeal, in Maricopa County Juvenile No. J-86509, 124 Ariz. 377, 604 P.2d 641 (1979).

2

Association of Juvenile Compact Administrators, 2007

provides these supervisory services for juveniles on behalf of other states beyond
age 18. The state that the juvenile is on parole from pays for any services that it
requests be provided to the juvenile.
Some states also use blended sentences for juveniles, which allow juvenile courts
to impose adult sentences on juvenile offenders. According to a U.S. Department
of Justice report on juvenile offenders, as of 2004, 15 states allowed juvenile courts
to use blended sentences.1 For 11 of these states, juvenile courts can order both
a juvenile disposition and an adult sentence, but the adult sentence is suspended
as long as the juvenile offender successfully completes the terms of the juvenile
disposition and does not commit any new offenses. Three other states allow
juvenile court judges to order an adult sentence that extends beyond the age of
jurisdiction, with the juvenile initially committed to a juvenile facility and then later
transferred to an adult facility. One state gives the juvenile court the option of giving
an adult sentence instead of a juvenile disposition.

Juveniles who “age out” receive less rehabilitative
treatment and re-offend more
As a result of the statutorily mandated age limit, the Department has only a short
amount of time to provide treatment services to many juveniles. This is problematic
because research shows that the longer juveniles are in treatment programs, the
lower their likelihood of re-offending becomes. Treatments that are longer in duration
(more than 26 weeks) and involve more contact hours (more than 100 hours) are
associated with better outcomes (see Finding 1, pages 11 through 26).
Department data reflects the research showing that more treatment equates to better
outcomes. The Department’s data shows that for juveniles released from 2002
through 2005, within 3 years of release, nearly 50 percent of its juvenile population
has returned to either the adult or juvenile justice system. In contrast, according to
department data, juveniles who obtained their absolute discharge from the
Department during that same time period had a 29 percent recidivism rate 3 years
after release.

Twenty-nine percent of
juveniles who earned an
absolute discharge
recidivated within 3
years of release.

In addition to having less time to receive rehabilitative treatment, the Department also
reported that older juveniles do not always have the same access to treatment
services. According to department staff, juveniles admitted to the Department who
are nearing age 18 may not be placed in time-sensitive programming, like a sex
offender treatment unit, or given an alternate abbreviated form of rehabilitative
treatment because of some programs’ required time frames. However, staff also
reported that capacity can play a role in limiting access to treatment. For example,
the sex offender treatment program requires 12 months to complete, but there is a
waiting list.

1

U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006
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The Department also reported that juveniles approaching the age of 18 exhibit
behavior problems. According to a department official, juveniles know that the
Department’s jurisdiction ends at age 18, have no incentive to engage in
rehabilitative treatment, and frequently exhibit disruptive behavior.

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APPENDIX A
Treatment Programs
This appendix provides descriptive summaries of the
Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections’
(Department) four treatment programs and the
behavior management system it uses to address
risk factors and meet the needs of the juveniles
residing in its secure care facilities. The summaries
include information on how the programs should be
implemented based on auditors’ review of treatment
program and behavior management manuals,
treatment workbooks, applicable Web sites, and
interviews with department officials.

New Freedom—Based

on information provided
by a department official, by February 2006 the
Department had implemented its core treatment
program (New Freedom) in all housing units
(including specialty units) at its four secure care
facilities. The program was adapted from A New
Freedom, created by A. R. Phoenix Resources,
Inc., and the Department’s purchase of the license
for this program includes the right to make
unlimited copies of New Freedom treatment
program materials. New Freedom allows the
Department to include substance abuse and
dependency, behavioral health, and educational
programming elements in its core treatment
programming for all juveniles.

Types of Treatment
Cognitive behavioral therapy—Seeks to change the way a
person thinks to feel/act better even if the situation does
not change. (www.nacbt.org).
Motivational enhancement—Client-centered approach
that tries to raise a person’s own motivation for change
and to develop a personal decision and plan for change
(www.nida.nih.gov).
Social learning model—People learn through observing
others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those
behaviors (www.learning-theories.com).
Motivational interviewing—Client-centered approach that
tries to increase a person’s motivation to change by
exploring and resolving their uncertainty about change
(www.motivationalinterview.org).
Dialectical behavior therapy—Cognitive-behavioral
treatment that uses a behavioral, problem-solving focus
combined with acceptance-based approaches, and a
focus on treating patients with multiple disorders focusing
on certain thought processes and behavioral styles in the
treatment strategies (www.nrepp.samhsa.gov).
Relapse prevention therapy—Designed to teach persons
who are trying to maintain changes in their behavior how
to anticipate and cope with the problem of relapse
(www.nationalpsychologist.com).
Source: Auditor General staff summary of treatment types as defined on the above
Web sites on October 14, 2008.

According to the A New Freedom Web site, the
New Freedom treatment program offers “comprehensive, flexible, and costeffective substance abuse curriculum workbooks and behavioral health treatment
resources for adult and juvenile correctional programs.”1 The program includes

1

A. R. Phoenix Resources, Inc. n.d.
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over 300 substance abuse workbooks, program activity materials, and other
resources. Program resources should address juveniles’ most serious personal,
environmental, and community risk factors, and build on their most important
strengths and assets. These resources are based on evidence-based concepts of
cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement, the social learning
model, and key coping and problem-solving skills for both positive social
development and relapse prevention. Additionally, the Web site indicates that New
Freedom offers Spanish-language, gender-specific, aggression and violence,
returning-home, and gang-specific workbook-based resources.
According to the program manual and a department official, juveniles should
progress through the New Freedom program in four stages:


Stage 1—This stage focuses on orientation and treatment preparation
through workbooks and group sessions focused on self-discovery and
treatment preparation.



Stage 2—This stage focuses on self-awareness through the use of workbooks
and group sessions on self-discovery as well as understanding dependencies
and coping skills.



Stage 3—In this stage, juveniles should actively pursue new skills and
understanding and should strive to learn how to effectively manage high-risk
situations. Workbooks and group sessions focus on coping skills and relapse
prevention. An individual behavioral health program may also be created
during this stage to address issues such as trauma, depression, anger, or selfinjury. Specialty groups and specialty workbook (supplemental) materials
should be used with juveniles to customize the treatment program to meet
individual risk factors and needs.



Stage 4—The final stage consists of workbook and group session work
focused on relapse prevention and returning home.

Housing Units
Core—Juveniles who are not classified
as requiring treatment in a specialty unit
are placed in core housing units.
Specialty—Mental health, sex offender,
and chemical dependency housing
units that address the needs of juveniles
who have severe acute or chronic risks
and needs in these specialty areas.
Source: Auditor General staff summary of an interview with a
department official.

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According to the program design, juveniles complete most of their New
Freedom treatment programming within group sessions and group
sessions should be held at different frequencies, depending on whether
they are held in a core housing unit or specialty housing unit. New
Freedom groups include:


Process Groups—Juveniles meet in a group setting to work on
issues relevant to their treatment stage and workbook materials.
Process groups should be led by master’s degree-level therapists
or a qualified mental health professional.



Treatment Focus Groups—Juveniles meet in a group setting to work on
treatment modules (workbooks). Workbook completion should be reviewed
by department staff for understanding and thoroughness. Satisfactory
completion of one workbook is required before obtaining the next workbook
and all required workbooks for a stage should be completed before a juvenile
can advance to the next stage. Case managers and other staff can lead these
groups.



Specialty Groups—These groups are designed for juveniles at Stage 3 in their
treatment and address topics such as trauma or anger through group
counseling. Qualified mental health staff must lead these groups.

The Department lacks guidance regarding the expected frequency and duration of
treatment groups. However, according to a department official, process and
treatment focus groups should each be conducted four times a week for juveniles
living in core treatment housing units and one to two times a week for juveniles
living in specialty housing units. These groups should be held for 45-60 minutes.
Specialty groups should be held once a week for 45 minutes and should take the
place of one New Freedom process group for juveniles assigned to attend a
specialty group.

Mental Health—According to the Department’s mental health program manual,
this program was implemented in September 2007 and was established to
increase the Department’s “ability to stabilize mental health related symptoms in
youth that are more severe in nature, threatening his/her safety, interfering with
his/her ability to effectively engage in treatment, and and/or interfering with his/her
capacity to function effectively in important areas of daily living.” Juveniles
diagnosed with a major mental health disorder, such as mood disorder or
psychotic disorder, and who have specific behaviors that interfere with their overall
treatment within secure care, are eligible for placement in this program. According
to the program manual, specific behaviors considered when determining
appropriateness for this treatment program include suicidal behaviors, behaviors
that interfere with treatment such as “refusal to follow established treatment plan
related to severe anxiety,” and behaviors that interfere with quality of life such as
the inability to provide self-care. Additionally, the program manual indicates that
juveniles with significant emotional and adjustment disorders or behavioral and
neurological disorders may be considered for placement in this program.
According to the mental health program manual, the mental health program is
based on “cognitive behavioral therapy, social learning theory, motivational
interviewing, and relapse prevention principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.”
Treatment is provided to juveniles primarily through the following three
interventions:

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

Counseling services—Individual, family, and crisis intervention counseling
should be available to all juveniles in this program. The frequency and length
of these services are based on a juvenile’s individual needs.



Skills training groups—Dialectical Behavior Therapy should be used in a
group setting 3 days a week where juveniles can learn and practice new skills.
This includes attending a “Skill of the Week” group, which occurs for about 30
minutes twice a day and an intensive skills group two times a week for 60
minutes each.



Additional therapeutic groups—Juveniles should also attend therapeutic
groups based on their identified needs, such as anger management, daily
living skills, and chemical dependency education.

According to department documentation, the Department previously had two
mental health housing units, one located at the Adobe Mountain secure care
facility and the other at the Black Canyon secure care facility (all girls). However,
according to a department official, the Black Canyon female mental health unit was
changed to a “co-occurring disorders” (COD) unit beginning in June 2008.
Juveniles in this unit should receive both intensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy
interventions as well as interventions for substance abuse and dependency.

Chemical Dependency—According

to the chemical dependency program
manual, the Department implemented this program in March 2007 with the
purpose of reducing and eliminating the negative effects of substance use in
juveniles who reside in secure care, primarily through group interventions. The
Department’s primary chemical dependency intervention is The Seven
Challenges® program. According to The Seven Challenges® Web site, the program
was developed for use with juveniles who have drug problems, with “the goal to
motivate a decision and commitment to change and to support success in
implementing the desired changes.”1 This Web site also indicates that the
program helps juveniles address their drug problems as well as life skill deficits,
situational issues, and psychological issues at the same time. According to the
Seven Challenges® program manual, juveniles progress through The Seven
Challenges® program by participating in group sessions and completing journals
related to each of the seven challenges. Journal material is reviewed by staff for
thoroughness and understanding before juveniles advance to the next challenge.
According to The Seven Challenges® Web site, independent studies funded by
The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in Washington, D.C.—one study at the
University of Iowa and the other at the University of Arizona—have presented
evidence that shows the effectiveness of The Seven Challenges® as a “cooccurring” program that significantly decreases juveniles’ substance use and
greatly increases their overall mental health. Data also shows that The Seven
Challenges® has been especially effective with substance-abusing juveniles who
also have trauma issues.2

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1

Schwebel, n.d.

2

Schwebel, n.d.

According to the chemical dependency program manual and a department
official, the Department’s chemical dependency program works by classifying the
severity of a juvenile’s chemical use or dependency and providing treatment that
matches the juvenile’s individual needs. Specifically:




Classification—According to the program manual, juveniles are assigned to
one of three treatment levels based upon dependency or abuse diagnoses,
complications related to chemical use, and severity of the juveniles’ chemical
use:
•

Severity level 1—Juveniles diagnosed with a chemical dependency and
who have complications of chemical dependence, including use that is
life threatening, and/or certain indicators showing a severity of
dependence, such as dependence to more than one drug. Juveniles
must also show some indication of a readiness to change.

•

Severity level 2—Juveniles diagnosed with a chemical dependency, but
who do not have complications or severity indicators, or do not show a
readiness to change; or juveniles diagnosed with chemical abuse who
have severity indicators, such as abuse of more than one drug and who
show some recognition that they have a chemical abuse problem.

•

Severity level 3—Juveniles diagnosed with chemical abuse, but without
severity indicators or problem recognition.

Treatment—According to the program manual, all juveniles with a chemical
dependence or abuse diagnosis should receive a personalized feedback
report when they first arrive in secure care. This report provides feedback to
juveniles on their chemical use and supports engagement in the treatment
process. Additional chemical dependence treatment interventions should be
provided to juveniles depending on their classification:
•

Severity level 1—According to a department official, juveniles with this
designation are placed in chemical dependency housing units and
receive The Seven Challenges® program and Dialectical Behavior
Therapy in addition to core treatment. According to The Seven
Challenges® program manual, treatment is provided to juveniles through
workbooks and groups, which should occur two times a week. According
to a department official, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is also provided in
a group setting and should occur one time a week. Additionally, all
groups should last between 45-60 minutes.

•

Severity level 2—According to a department official and the program
manual, juveniles with this designation are placed in core treatment
housing units and the Department’s plan was for them to attend a

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chemical dependency group (The Seven Challenges®) session one time
a week and a skills training group session one time a week in addition to
attending two core treatment group sessions. However, according to a
department official, this has not occurred and juveniles with this
classification only receive core treatment programming.
•

Severity level 3—According to the program manual, juveniles with this
designation live in core treatment housing units and receive the core
treatment program. A primary treatment goal for juveniles in this
classification is their chemical use.

According to department officials, to address the high rate of substance use
among juveniles under the Department’s care, the Department has four chemical
dependency housing units in the three male secure care facilities, and it has also
implemented The Seven Challenges® program in two of the three housing units at
its female secure care facility.

Sex Offender—The

Department revised its sex offender treatment program in
January 2009. According to a department official and the sex offender treatment
program manual, the Department continues to provide sex offender treatment to
juveniles who are adjudicated with a sexual offense, but now it intends to also
provide treatment to juveniles identified as at-risk for inappropriate sexual
behaviors.1 The Department assesses juveniles to determine their risk of sexually
re-offending and for inappropriate sexual behaviors. Juveniles committed to the
Department’s care specifically for a sexual offense should be placed in a sex
offender unit and receive sex offender treatment. Juveniles who committed a
sexual offense in the past may or may not be placed in a sex offender unit to
receive treatment depending on whether they previously successfully completed
sex offender treatment. The Department may also determine that a juvenile has
sexually aggressive behaviors even though the juvenile has never been
adjudicated for a sexual offense. These juveniles should also receive some level of
sex offender treatment. The Department has three sex offender housing units, one
at the Catalina Mountain secure care facility and two at the Adobe Mountain secure
care facility.
The Department’s sex offender treatment is separated into two levels of
treatment—unit-based or out patient—determined by adjudication offense and
assessment outcomes. According to a department official, the Department is
developing a third level of sex offender treatment, which would consist of
individualized treatment. Based on a juveniles’ adjudicated offense, prior history,
assessments, and housing unit placement, the Department should provide the
following treatment:



1

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Unit-b
based sex offender treatment—Juveniles should be placed in one of the
three sex offender housing units if their most recent adjudication is for a sexual

This program was developed by Dr. Lee Underwood, Psy.D., who according to the Department is a nationally recognized
expert in the treatment of juvenile sex offenders. Dr. Underwood is the Department's Clinical Director of Behavioral Health
Services.

offense, or if they were previously adjudicated for a sexual offense and did not
successfully complete sex offender-specific treatment. Additionally, according
to a department official, juveniles with a court recommendation to receive sex
offender-specific treatment will be placed in one of these housing units,
provided it is clinically appropriate. According to a department official,
juveniles should attend four sex offender-specific group sessions every week
in addition to core treatment group sessions two times a week. This program
is supposed to last from 12 to 18 months and juveniles in this program should
meet specific criteria such as “demonstration of a thorough understanding of
relapse prevention” before being released from the program. According to the
program manual, treatment interventions should occur primarily in groups and
through the treatment workbook, which should enable juveniles to meet
various goals and competencies associated with appropriate sexual
boundaries, emotional regulation, and self-control.


Out-p
patient sex offender treatment—According to a department official, this
level of sex offender treatment should generally, unless determined to be
clinically inappropriate, be provided to juveniles who have a prior adjudicated
sex offense, but have previously successfully completed a sex offender
treatment program or to juveniles who have displayed sexually aggressive
behaviors. These juveniles should be placed in core treatment housing units
and receive core treatment programming, case management services, and
individual therapy that specifically addresses the juvenile’s sex offense history
or sexually aggressive behaviors.



Individualized treatment—Juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders, but
who are placed in a mental health housing unit for stabilization, and juveniles
who have received a clinical or administrative override for safety and treatment
reasons and are placed in a core housing unit should receive this level of
treatment. According to a department official, this level of treatment should
consist of individual therapy and a treatment workbook. However, the
Department has yet to develop a specific curriculum or treatment format and
staff have not received training to provide this treatment in core treatment
housing units.



Counseling services—According to the program manual, individual, family
intervention, and crisis intervention counseling is available to all juveniles in
this program, if needed. The frequency and length of these services should be
based on a juvenile's individual needs.



Sex offender curriculum—This curriculum consists of sex offender specific
activity sheets and the Pathways treatment workbook, which is designed for
people between the ages of 11 and 21 with sexual behavior problems. The
workbook relies on both relapse prevention and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Juveniles progress through various activity sheets and chapters in the

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workbook and staff review the completed work for thoroughness and
understanding. This curriculum workbook should be used for juveniles
receiving unit-based or individualized treatment.

System for Change—According

to a department official, this program was
implemented in the three male facilities by February 2008 and is the Department's
core behavioral management program.1 According to the Department’s System
for Change program manual, the implementation goal is to create a “safe
environment that allows juvenile offenders the opportunity to change their thinking
and behavior from delinquent to pro-social.” The Department’s System for Change
program manual further defines a safe environment as physical safety such as
having appropriate and clean living conditions and psychological safety such as
clearly established rules for behavior. The program manual also indicates that the
program provides behavior management tools, treatment
approaches, and educational expectations for all juveniles.
ACAB
Additionally, the clear establishment of rules and
consequences provides structure for staff to maintain a
Activating event—event that triggers a problem behavior.
therapeutic environment.
Cognitive—juvenile’s thought processes surrounding the
event.
According to a department official and the System for
Change program manual, the program is based on
Affect—juvenile’s feeling resulting from the event.
cognitive-behavioral therapy and uses different techniques
Behavior—behavior that results from the event, thought
and interventions, including motivational interviewing and
processes, and feelings.
crisis de-escalation, to provide juveniles with a safe
environment. According to the System for Change program
Source: Auditor General staff summary of information in the Department’s System for
manual, behavior management provides structure to
Change program manual.
prevent or minimize negative juvenile behaviors while
building on strengths, beliefs, and behaviors. The primary
intervention used to change delinquent thinking and behavior is three daily ACAB
group sessions (see textbox). In the “Morning Affirmation Group” session,
juveniles determine individual behavioral objectives for the day. These objectives
are written so they can be processed in later group sessions. The “Check-in
Group,” is a mid-day review of juveniles’ progress or problems in reaching the
day’s behavioral objectives. This group session presents an opportunity for
juveniles to self-assess and receive feedback from peers and staff. The final group
session of the day, “ACAB Daily Group,” occurs each evening and provides an
opportunity for juveniles to give final reports of their behavioral objectives.
Juveniles with the most significant behavioral problems for the day will typically
receive feedback from the group including examination of the event, thought
processes, and feelings that led to the behavior and ideas on how to prevent the
behavior in the future.

1

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Other behavior management interventions include Extra Help Group for juveniles with more frequent or severe behaviors,
Individual Behavior Plans for juveniles with continual behavioral problems, and Alternative Education classes for juveniles
who have repeated behaviors in the classroom environment.

APPENDIX B
Methodology
Auditors used various methods to study the issues addressed in this report. These
methods included interviewing department management and staff; observing
operations at each of the Department’s four secure care facilities; and reviewing
statutes, policies, and procedures. Auditors also used the following specific
methods:


To evaluate the treatment services provided to juveniles while in secure care and
the internal controls in place to ensure proper provision of treatment, auditors
selected 9 of the Department’s 25 housing units, consisting of 5 core treatment,
2 sex offender, and 2 chemical dependency units, at 3 of the Department’s 4
secure care facilities (Adobe Mountain, Eagle Point, and Catalina). Auditors
observed and reviewed the delivery of core, sex offender, and chemical
dependency treatment to juveniles from June through August 2008 in these nine
housing units. This work consisted of a review of department treatment program
manuals, unit and treatment group schedules, observations of a total of 12
treatment groups, interviews with core and specialty unit staff, reviews of training
records for staff working on the units observed, and reviews of training policies
and materials. Auditors also reviewed literature on the elements of effective
juvenile treatment programs and expected outcomes of the effective delivery of
these programs to juveniles (See Appendix C, pages c-i through c-iii, for more
information about literature reviewed). To determine the descriptions of the
Department’s treatment programs and behavior management system used in
Appendix A, auditors reviewed treatment program manuals, workbooks, and
Web sites and conducted interviews with department officials.



To determine the adequacy of the Department’s process and internal controls
for making treatment decisions and release recommendations, auditors
observed 32 multidisciplinary team (MDT) staff meetings held in June and July
2008 and analyzed MDT-related information in the Department’s information
system (Youthbase). Auditors also assessed the reliability of information in
Youthbase by analyzing 90 assessments and related case planning data for 20
juveniles released in January and September 2007.

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1
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

To determine the adequacy of the Department’s efforts to transition juveniles to
the community and the internal controls over those efforts, auditors reviewed a
sample of 58 juveniles released in Maricopa and Pima Counties in calendar year
2007. Auditors also observed parole officers in the field, trainings for community
corrections staff, and department outreach efforts to build relationships with
external stakeholders, such as meetings with the Department of Economic
Security’s Child Protective Services and Regional Behavioral Health Authority
representatives and conference and information session participation. Auditors
also interviewed external stakeholders, reviewed literature, and interviewed
experts to identify best practices in juvenile transition (See Appendix C, pages
c-ii through c-iii, for more information about literature reviewed).



To obtain information regarding the statutory requirement that juveniles be
released from the Department’s jurisdiction at age 18, auditors analyzed
recidivism data provided by the Department for all juveniles released from
secure care between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2005. Auditors also
interviewed juvenile corrections officials from states surrounding Arizona
(California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) and juvenile court officials in
Arizona. Further, auditors reviewed information from the Association of Juvenile
Compact Administrators to obtain information on how other states and
jurisdictions supervise juveniles after they turned 18. Auditors also reviewed the
Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report from the U.S. Department
of Justice to obtain information about the use of blended juvenile and adult
sentences throughout the United States.1



To provide information for the report’s Introduction and Background section,
auditors analyzed the Arizona Financial Information System Accounting Event
Transaction File for fiscal years 2007 and 2008 and estimates provided by the
Department for fiscal year 2009, Joint Legislative Budget Committee
appropriations reports for the Department for fiscal year 2008, the Department’s
2004 through 2007 annual reports, the Department’s Web site, reports and legal
documents from the Johnson v. Upchurch lawsuit and the federal Civil Rights of
Institutionalized Persons Act investigation, and other agency-provided
documents. Auditors also used data provided by the Department to provide
information about the number of juveniles committed to the Department and
demographic information about those juveniles.

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006

APPENDIX C
Bibliography
A. R. Phoenix Resources, Inc. (n.d.) A New Freedom: Substance and Behavioral
Health Treatment. Retrieved March 3, 2008, from http://www.newfreedomprograms.
com/index.php
Abrams, Laura S. From Corrections to Community: Youth Offenders’ Perceptions of
the Challenges of Transition. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Vol. 44, Issue no. 2
(2006): 31-53.
Altschuler, David M. Issues and Challenges in the Community Supervision of Juvenile
Offenders. Southern Illinois University Law Journal Vol. 23, (1999): 469-482.
Antonowicz, Daniel H., and Robert R. Ross. Essential Components of Successful
Rehabilitation Programs for Offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and
Comparative Criminology Vol. 38, Issue no. 2 (1994): 97-104.
Association of Juvenile Compact Administrators. (2007) Policy and Procedure
Manual. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from http://www.ajca.us/manual.php
Bullis, Michael, and Paul Yovanoff. Those Who Do Not Return: Correlates of the Work
and School Engagement of Formally Incarcerated Youth Who Remain in the
Community. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Vol. 10, Issue no. 2 (2002):
66-78.
Chung, He Len, Carol A. Schubert, and Edward P. Mulvey. An Empirical Portrait of
Community Reentry Among Serious Juvenile Offenders in Two Metropolitan Cities.
Criminal Justice and Behavior Vol. 34, Issue no. 11 (2007): 1402-1426.
Flores, Anthony W., Amanda L. Russell, Edward J. Latessa, and Lawrence F. Travis
III. Evidence of Professionalism or Quackery: Measuring Practitioner Awareness of
Risk/Need Factors and Effective Treatment Strategies. Federal Probation Vol. 69,
Issue no. 2 (2005): 9-14.

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Gendreau, Paul, Claire Goggin, and Paula Smith. The Forgotten Issue in Effective
Correctional Treatment: Program Implementation. International Journal of Offender
Therapy and Comparative Criminology Vol. 43, Issue no. 2 (1999): 180-187.
Howell, James C., and Mark W. Lipsey. A Practical Approach to Evaluating and
Improving Juvenile Justice Programs. Juvenile and Family Court Journal Vol. 55, Issue
no. 1 (2004): 35-48.
Landenberger, Nana A., and Mark W. Lipsey. The Positive Effects of Cognitivebehavioral Programs for Offenders: A Meta-analysis of Factors Associated with
Effective Treatment. Journal of Experimental Criminology Vol. 1 (2005): 451-476.
Latessa, Edward, J. What Works in Correctional Intervention. Southern Illinois
University Law Journal Vol. 23 (1999): 415-426.
Latessa, Edward J., Francis T. Cullen, and Paul Gendreau. Beyond Correctional
Quackery—Professionalism and the Possibility of Effective Treatment. Federal
Probation Vol. 66, Issue no. 2 (2002): 43-49.
Lipsey, Mark W. Juvenile Delinquency Treatment: A Meta-Analytic Inquiry into the
Variability of Effects. Cook, Thomas D., et al., eds. Meta-Analysis for Explanation: A
Casebook. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Publications, 1992. 83-127.
Lipsey, Mark W. The Effect of Treatment on Juvenile Delinquents: Results from MetaAnalysis. Lösel, Friedrich, Doris Bender, and Thomas Bliesener, eds. Psychology and
Law: International Perspectives. New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1992. 129-143.
Lipsey, Mark W. What do We Learn from 400 Research Studies on the Effectiveness
of Treatment with Juvenile Delinquents? McGuire, J., ed. What Works: Reducing
Reoffending Guidelines from Research and Practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons
Ltd, 1995. 63-78.
Lipsey, Mark W., David B. Wilson, and Lynn Cothern. Effective Intervention for Serious
Juvenile Offenders. OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin (April 2000): 1-8.
Lipsey, Mark W., Gabrielle L. Chapman, and Nana A. Landenberger. CognitiveBehavioral Programs for Offenders. The Annals of the American Academy of Political
and Social Science Vol. 578 (November 2001): 144-157.
Lowenkamp, Christopher T., Edward J. Latessa, and Paula Smith. Does Correctional
Program Quality Really Matter? The Impact of Adhering to the Principles of Effective
Interventions 2006 Criminology and Public Policy Vol. 5, Issue no. 3 (2006): 201-220.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Reconnecting: The Role of the
Juvenile Court in Reentry. 2002.

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Schwebel, Robert. (n.d.) The Seven Challenges. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from
http://www.sevenchallenges.com
U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Prisons. National Institute of Corrections.
Moving from Correctional Program to Correctional Strategy: Using Proven Practices to
Change Criminal Behavior. Washington, D.C.: DOJ, 2001.
U.S. Department of Justice. Center for Sex Offender Management. A Project of the
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. A Report to the Arizona
Department of Juvenile Corrections on National Best Practices, Observations, and
Recommendations Regarding the Management of Juvenile Sex Offenders. Silver
Spring, MD.: CSOM, November 2003.
U.S. Department of Justice. Center for Sex Offender Management. A Project of the
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Understanding Treatment for
Adults and Juveniles Who Have Committed Sex Offenses. Silver Spring, MD.: CSOM,
November 2006.
U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention. OJJDP Fact Sheet: Overcoming Barriers to School Reentry.
Washington, D.C.: DOJ, October 2004.
U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report.
Washington, DC: DOJ, 2006.
Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Recommended Quality Control
Standards: Washington State Research-Based Juvenile Offender Programs.
Document No: 03-12-1203. Olympia, WA: WSIPP, 2003.
Zimmerman, Carol Rapp, Gina Hendrix, James Moeser, and David W. Roush eds.
Desktop Guide to Reentry for Juvenile Confinement Facilities. East Lansing, MI:
National Partnership for Juvenile Services, 2004.

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State of Arizona
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AGENCY RESPONSE

Office of the Auditor General

State of Arizona

Janice K. Brewer
Governor

Michael Branham
Director

February 25, 2009
Debra K. Davenport, Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General
2910 North 44th Street, Suite 410
Phoenix, Arizona 85018

Dear Ms. Davenport:
This is the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections’ (ADJC or “the Department”) response to your
preliminary draft performance audit of ADJC programs. The Department will respond specifically to
each of the recommendations you have made, but first offers background information that places both
your report and this response in broader context. The Department believes that an understanding of its
transformation since 2003 will benefit those who read your report.
As you note, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) issued a report in 2004 detailing numerous
serious deficiencies at ADJC in broad-ranging areas including the physical conditions of its secure care
facilities, suicide prevention, protection of juveniles from harm, special education programming,
treatment programming and medical and mental health services. The USDOJ pointed to three juvenile
suicides in the Department’s Adobe Mountain School in 2002 and 2003. Those dire findings lead to the
filing of United States of America v. the State of Arizona in federal district court on September 15, 2004.
That lawsuit alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement in three ADJC secure care facilities
(Adobe Mountain School, Black Canyon School and Catalina Mountain School). It was filed under the
federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 USC §§ 1997, et. seq and thus referred to as a
“CRIPA” lawsuit.
On September 15, 2004 the State and the USDOJ entered into a Memorandum of Agreement, which
required ADJC to correct its deficiencies by enacting over 120 specific provisions. The deadline for
doing so was September 15, 2007. The USDOJ appointed a four member “Committee of Consultants,”
all nationally recognized experts on juvenile corrections practices, to monitor the Department’s progress.
As your audit report states, on September 15, 2007, the USDOJ dismissed its lawsuit against the
Department. In the Committee of Consultants’ final report, they found ADJC to have achieved
substantial compliance with every provision of the CRIPA agreement in just three years. Department
staff and administrators are rightfully proud of that accomplishment.
Achieving compliance with the CRIPA agreement required completely overhauling the operation of all
four of ADJC’s four secure care correctional facilities between 2003 and 2007. First, all four facilities
were retrofitted and remodeled to reduce the opportunity for juvenile suicide, while the Department
implemented a comprehensive new suicide prevention program. ADJC opened a new health unit at
Adobe Mountain School in Phoenix and implemented 24 hour nursing coverage at all four facilities.
Simultaneously, the Department developed and implemented or revamped virtually all of its secure care

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 2 
 
operations and programming. A new process for assessing and classifying juveniles was created and
implemented; a new overarching classification instrument was developed and implemented; a new vehicle
for tracking a youth’s individualized program progress was developed and implemented; new core
treatment programming was adopted and implemented at all facilities; the Policy and Procedure Unit was
revamped and all policies and procedures scrutinized, with most being rewritten; specialized
programming for sex offenders and youth with chemical dependency or mental health issues was
revamped; a comprehensive new behavior management system was designed and implemented; a new
youth grievance process was designed and implemented; a Quality Assurance unit was created and
became operational; and the Department’s Internal Affairs unit was replaced with a professionalized
Investigations and Inspections Unit, which is staffed by experienced law enforcement officers and
charged with investigating misconduct by staff and youth and, where applicable, developing internal or
criminal cases. To make this massive change possible, the Department’s Staff Development Division
completely revamped both its Pre-service Academy and the delivery of in-service training.
Each of the Department’s initiatives between 2004 and 2007 was a major undertaking that would alone
have posed considerable challenges. Making all of them in that short a time period left little time for
process improvement.
Released from federal oversight in September, 2007, Department leadership recognized three priorities,
which we described to your audit team at the outset of their work: (1) there was great need to revisit the
multiple new programs and practices in a systematic manner to improve the quality of their delivery; (2)
CRIPA had focused virtually all of our efforts on secure facilities, but a similar reform effort was
necessary in the operation of Community Corrections services (parole); and (3) specific effort was
required to assure that the organizational culture that bred the conditions USDOJ described in its 2004
report would not reappear in the absence of semi-annual federal monitoring.
To address those post-CRIPA priorities, ADJC’s executive team determined that 2008 would be a year for
quality improvement in operating and providing programming in secure facilities; the Department would
develop a strategic plan to begin restructuring the delivery of Community Corrections services; and that
ADJC would continue the organizational culture change efforts begun during the final year of CRIPA
oversight. It is this dynamic environment your audit team encountered at ADJC. Institutional
programming rested on a solid, new foundation, but much work was necessary to assure that what has
been built on that foundation will be equally robust. Community Corrections had been relegated to
second priority for far too long and was beginning its journey toward providing the level and quality of
services juveniles would need going forward. The Department acknowledged as much at the outset of the
audit and welcomed the observations of the audit team over the course of the audit. Clearly, there is
much room for improvement, and ADJC has been and remains committed to that effort.
That said, I would be remiss if I did not express my pride in ADJC staff and all we have accomplished
together. Just five years ago, ADJC garnered unwanted notoriety in Arizona and in the national juvenile
corrections community. Today, this Department has regained the trust of the juvenile judiciary and serves
as a resource, fielding inquiries from sister agencies around the country, often at the suggestion of DOJ
attorneys or their expert Consultants who monitored us and documented our progress.

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 3 
 
Findings and Recommendations
The Department’s concurrence in the audit team’s three findings does not constitute agreement with all of
the specifics in the report. In many instances, the sample sizes were quite small. To a large extent, Black
Canyon School’s programs were not considered, although the Black Canyon staff has received training in
gender specific programming and as a result deliver services very well. Some of the data relied upon in
the audit were generated in 2004 or earlier, before the CRIPA reforms were even begun. Rather than
belaboring some of the specifics in the audit report, however, the Department believes it is more
productive to address the future by responding to your audit team’s major findings and its
recommendations.
Finding 1: Department’s treatment programs modeled after best practices, but delivery needs
improvement
The Department agrees with the finding.
Recommendations:
General comment: Like all state agencies, the Department anticipates a substantial reduction in its
funding for Fiscal Year 2010. The amount to be cut is unknown at the time this response is being written.
All of the Department’s plans and objectives, including those reflected below are by necessity subject to
the availability of funding. The Department is committed to its core mission of enhancing public safety
by changing the delinquent thinking and behaviors of committed youth and to maintaining the safety of
all juveniles and staff.
1.1

The Department should develop and implement policies and procedures that specify:
a.

The frequency and duration of core process, treatment focus, and specialty groups and
specialty treatment program groups;
The Department will implement the recommendation. It began to address the findings by
piloting a Program Fidelity Checklist in January, 2009. This process requires that a
psychologist or clinical leader personally observe groups and complete the checklist
based on their observations. This process will also be used to certify staff to be group
facilitators, with the intention of requiring all facilitators to obtain certification.

b. Using approved treatment materials;
The Department will implement the recommendation. Department procedure already
meets this recommendation. Beginning in November, 2008, Quality Assurance (QA)
review of treatment groups, conducted by the ADJC QA unit in conjunction with agency
subject matter experts, uses a form that includes checking for the use of approved
material.
c. Customizing treatment to meet the needs of individual juveniles by providing juveniles
with specific treatment modules and specialty groups that are based on individual
diagnoses;

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 4 
 

The Department will implement the recommendation. The Department already
individualizes treatment by developing a unique Continuous Case Plan (CCP) for every
juvenile and offering specialized groups for juveniles who need them in some housing
units. Approximately 30% of ADJC juveniles living in core treatment units require some
type of specialized groups. ADJC has begun to provide those groups and will continue to
add them.
d. Providing sex offender treatment for all adjudicated sex offenders and for juveniles who
have been identified as at risk for inappropriate sexual behavior;
The Department will implement the recommendation, with the caveat noted below. As
noted in the audit, the Department added an additional housing unit for sex offenders in
January, 2009 and has initiated a program of providing individual sex offender treatment
to appropriate youth who are not housed in the specialized sex offender units, whether for
lack of bed space or because a juvenile is otherwise inappropriate for them. The
Department prioritizes juveniles for sex offender programming. Adjudicated sex
offenders are always identified for those services. For juveniles who have never been
adjudicated for a sex offense, an assessment that reflects “risk for inappropriate sexual
behavior” – a very broad category – will result in treatment services where it is deemed
clinically necessary and resources permit.
e. Developing and implementing a plan to provide chemical dependency treatment to all
juveniles the Department identifies as needing this treatment.
The Department will implement the recommendation. The core treatment program, New
Freedom, already provides substance abuse programming to every juvenile. The
Department uses validated tools to assess the severity of a juvenile’s chemical
dependency, and those classified as the most serious are assigned to the chemical
dependency housing units. Currently, there is no waiting list for those specialized units.
1.2. If the Department decides that it cannot implement its current treatment programs as designed, it
should revise and implement its programs in such a manner as to continue to follow the literature
on effective treatment programs.
The Department will implement the recommendation.
1.3.

The Department should develop and implement treatment program policies and procedures and
revise program manuals to clearly guide staff on how to implement the treatment programs.
These policies and procedures should specify:
a. Who should lead different types of treatment groups and what to do in cases where
appropriate staff are not available;
The Department will implement the recommendation. Staff who will facilitate groups
have already been identified. The Department has developed a training program that will

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 5 
 
result in certification of group facilitators, and certification will be required. “Train the
Trainer” courses are now being given to begin that process.
b. Provide clinical staff who work with juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders with
specialized sex offender training. In addition, the Department should provide all staff
working with juveniles who are adjudicated sex offenders training on how to interact
with and manage sex offenders. The Department should also ensure that staff receive this
training prior to working with these juveniles;
The Department will implement the recommendation. However, the Department notes
that clinical staff who provide sex offender treatment are already provided specialized
training, as are other staff assigned to sex offender units. Several sessions were
conducted for that staff in October, 2008. The Department will continue to enhance that
training.
c. Ensure that staff leading core treatment process and specialty groups and sex offender
and chemical dependency groups are trained on how to provide group counseling;
The Department will implement the recommendation. See additional comments to 1.3(a),
above.
d. Develop and implement policies and procedures for providing staff with periodic ongoing
training for all treatment programs and the behavior management program.
The Department will implement the recommendation. In fact, this has been an ongoing
process and planning for it was a key component of the quality improvement efforts the
Department implemented in 2008 in its review of all of the programming and processes
adopted during CRIPA monitoring. All juvenile contact staff are required to attend a four
day in-service annual training block, which now includes philosophy of treatment,
program overview, New Freedom (core treatment), System for Change (behavior
management), behavioral interventions, and the Continuous Case Plan among its classes.
In addition, the Department will continue to provide specialized in-service training as
needed, either because a new program is being implemented, a need has been identified
through the agency’s QA or other review processes, or regular training is appropriate.
For example, in November, 2008, the Department trained all Psychology Associates,
other mental health staff, Housing Unit managers (Youth Program Supervisors), and
caseworkers (Youth Program Officer IIIs) on the core treatment program, New Freedom.
Staffs are now required to pass a test to demonstrate competence in administering the
program.
1.5. The Department should develop and implement comprehensive monitoring procedures to ensure
that treatment programming is being provided to juveniles as designed. At a minimum, this
should include:
a. What groups to monitor;

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 6 
 
The Department will implement this recommendation. This effort was begun as part of
the Department’s decision to concentrate on improving the quality of its programs and
began in 2008, independent of this audit. As discussed above, program fidelity checklists
have been developed for some programs, with others to follow. Monitoring of program
fidelity will continue to involve both the Quality Assurance Unit and ADJC’s subject
matter experts and supervisors. This response is applicable to each of the remaining
subsections of Recommendation 1.5.
b. When and how to monitor;
The Department will implement this recommendation.
c. Who should monitor;
The Department will implement this recommendation.
d. Identifying qualified staff to monitor and providing training to this staff;
The Department will implement this recommendation.
e. Reporting, feedback, and follow-up procedures.
The Department will implement this recommendation.
1.6. The Department should implement its current evaluation process and ensure that regular
evaluations are conducted and used to assess and improve its treatment programs.
The Department will implement this recommendation. To that end, the ADJC Research and
Development unit has created a Correctional Program Checklist (CRC), the annual use of which
will be part of the evaluation process for the Department’s programs. Use of the CRC began in
January, 2009.
Finding 2: Decision-making process for juvenile treatment and release recommendations needs
improvement
The Department agrees with the finding.
Recommendations:
2.1. Make the following improvements to its assessment and scheduler in Youthbase:
a. Implement data controls throughout the assessment to minimize the potential for data
inconsistencies and eliminate the current practice of allowing staff to save an assessment
without changing/updating any data:
The Department will implement the recommendation, noting that the Youthbase
applications the auditors discussed in the report are limited to the Criminogenic and
Protective Factor Assessment (CAPFA), Continuous Case Plan (CCP) and scheduler.
The Department continuously improves its Youthbase database and has already

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 7 
 
implemented changes to the scheduler and data controls to the CAPFA application in
response to the auditors’ observations, which were communicated to the Department over
the course of the audit.
b. Establish controls that limit assessment updates to only those questions that should
change and ensure that only authorized staff can complete certain domains;
The Department will implement the recommendation. The Department’s Research &
Development Unit has statistically validated the CAPFA tool. Phase One was completed
in 2007 and Phase Two concluded in 2008. R & D is now in the process of conducting
and inter-rater reliability study for CAPFA data entry, the results of which will be used
both to identify both training needs and potential additional data controls.
c. Continue efforts to implement the automated scheduler and monitor it to ensure that
parole officers do not experience scheduling conflicts for MDT meetings.
The Department will implement the recommendation. See response to Recommendation
2.1(a), above.
2.2. Revise its procedures on assessments to require greater clinical or supervisory review of
assessments conducted after the initial assessment.
The Department will implement the recommendation.
2.3. Monitor the MDT process on a regular basis for staff attendance, attentiveness, and conduct as well
as procedural compliance, schedule adherence, and appropriate meeting environments.
The Department will implement the recommendation. ADJC has already conducted
training for applicable staff on the MDT meeting process and expectations for MDT
etiquette. In addition, as discussed in response to recommendation 1.1(a), above, the
Department has developed and is piloting a program fidelity checklist for use in
monitoring programs.
2.4. Provide all secure care clinical and community corrections staff with refresher assessment training
on a regular basis.
The Department will implement the recommendation.
2.5. Identify clinically trained and credentialed family services coordinators and use them to update the
mental health domain every 90 days for those juveniles in the community who the Department has
determined need for ongoing assessment because of high risk and needs in this area. Further,
family services coordinators should then provide parole officers with the information needed to
help juveniles address problems in this area.
The Department will implement the recommendation and has already initiated the process for
doing so.

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 8 
 
Finding 3: Department should better support juveniles’ transition to the community
The Department agrees with the finding.
Recommendations:
3.1. To better transition juveniles back into the community, the Department should improve and expand
working relationships with outside organizations that also work with juveniles by:
a. Continuing to meet with the Department of Economic Security, Child Protective Services
and developing an agreement similar to the formal agreements it has with the RBHAs.
The agreement should define the responsibilities of both agencies and the staff
responsibilities for various processes, including attendance at key department meetings,
establishing time frames for when actions should be taken, and specifying a problemsolving process;
The Department will implement the recommendation, and is appreciative of the auditors’
acknowledgement that ADJC was already engaged in this process. ADJC also provides
the caveat that the Department cannot control the actions of entities outside ADJC and is
dependent on the willingness of its partners for the full implementation of this
recommendation.
b. Ensuring all formal agreements have objective measurements and processes to hold
participants accountable for their actions;
The Department will implement the recommendation, and in fact began this effort prior
to this audit. The Department adds the caveat that it ultimately lacks the authority to hold
any outside entity accountable.
c. Leveraging its existing resources to create a Community Education Liaison to work with
community education programs to help transition juveniles into public schools. The
Community Education Liaison should work to identify, document, and access other
educational opportunities for juveniles who are struggling to re-integrate into traditional
classrooms;
The Department will implement the recommendation and in fact created and filled such a
position in January, 2009.
d. Identifying relevant events, such as conferences and trainings, that the Department could
use to communicate with and receive feedback from educators regarding the special
needs of its juveniles;
The Department will implement the recommendation, funding permitting. The
Department’s education staff have attended such conferences and trainings in the past.

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 9 
 
e. Continuing to develop its working relationship with the Department of Economic
Security (DES) and ensure that it can track the services the DES provides;
The Department will implement the recommendation, again with the caveat that it cannot
accomplish this without DES’ cooperation.
f.

Using its vocational rehabilitation liaison position and/or other staff resources to identify
and contract for relevant job training and vocational rehabilitation programs for its
juveniles. This position should also identify relevant events, such as conferences and
trainings, that the Department could use to communicate with and receive feedback from
community vocation program directors regarding the needs of its juveniles;
The Department will implement this recommendation. Department staff have attended
such trainings and conferences in the past and will continue to do so, funding permitting.

g. Continuing to use existing committees to share information regarding both educational
and vocational rehabilitation programs and opportunities in the community that
Department staff identify and/or develop.
The Department will implement the recommendation.
3.2. To better support juveniles’ transition back into the community, the Department should develop
and implement additional policies and procedures that:
a. Include set timelines and staff responsibilities for obtaining a juvenile’s necessary
identification, transcripts, and other documentation prior to transitioning to the
community;
The Department will implement this recommendation, with the caveat that obtaining
documents from other entities requires cooperation on the part of those entities, whose
cooperation or lack of cooperation is ultimately beyond ADJC’s control.
b. Require the development of a single, unified parole plan for its juveniles prior to their
transition to the community. The plan should define a juvenile’s responsibilities while on
parole, list needed services, and serve as a guide to department and other agency staff
regarding the support that should be provided to the juvenile while he/she is in the
community;
The Department will implement the recommendation.
c. Require the development of goals, objectives, and measures to track juveniles’ success in
transitioning and the monitoring and tracking of those goals, objectives, and measures.
The Department should ensure that those goals include the goals defined in a juvenile’s
parole plans.
The Department will implement the recommendation.

Debra K. Davenport 
February 25, 2009 
Page 10 
 
Additional Issue Examined By Auditor General
The Department takes no position regarding the extension of the age of its jurisdiction or the adoption of a
blended sentencing structure for Arizona’s juvenile offenders, except to note that either would require
considerable additional resources. Until the details of any such major change in Arizona’s juvenile justice
system were determined, it is not possible to estimate its fiscal impact.
Conclusion
Despite unprecedented fiscal challenges, ADJC is committed to fulfilling its statutory and constitutional
responsibilities to the citizens of Arizona and the juveniles and families we serve. We are dedicated to
consolidating the gains made under the CRIPA agreement and building on them.
We appreciate the contributions to that effort made by the audit team and their professionalism and
cooperation throughout the process.
Sincerely,

Michael Branham
Director

MB/lag/dh

Performance Audit Division reports issued within the last 24 months
07-01
07-02
07-03
07-04
07-05
07-06
07-07
07-08
07-09
07-10
07-11

Arizona Board of Fingerprinting
Arizona Department of Racing
and Arizona Racing Commission
Arizona Department of
Transportation—Highway
Maintenance
Arizona Department of
Transportation—Sunset Factors
Arizona Structural Pest Control
Commission
Arizona School Facilities Board
Board of Homeopathic Medical
Examiners
Arizona State Land Department
Commission for Postsecondary
Education
Department of Economic
Security—Division of Child
Support Enforcement
Arizona Supreme Court,
Administrative Office of the
Courts—Juvenile Detention
Centers

07-12
07-13

08-01
08-02
08-03
08-04
08-05
08-06
09-01

Future Performance Audit Division reports
Maricopa County Special Health Care District
Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority

Department of Environmental
Quality—Vehicle Emissions
Inspection Programs
Arizona Supreme Court,
Administrative Office of the
Courts—Juvenile Treatment
Programs
Electric Competition
Arizona’s Universities—
Technology Transfer Programs
Arizona’s Universities—Capital
Project Financing
Arizona’s Universities—
Information Technology Security
Arizona Biomedical Research
Commission
Board of Podiatry Examiners
Department of Health Services,
Division of Licensing Services—
Healthcare and Child Care
Facility Licensing Fees

 

 

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