The State Department of Corrections is seeking comment on a proposed administrative rule that would govern new secure residential care centers for children and youth.
Comments will be accepted through Oct. 9.
Under the rule, DOC would consider waivers for the vast majority of the requirements unless they are required by law. The only provision in the 25-page document the department would not consider waiving, according to the proposal, is one governing the size of two-person rooms.
The 25-page proposed rule would regulate "approval, design, construction, repair, maintenance, and operation of a Secure Residential Care Center for Children and Youth."
Whether such facilities, which were intended to replace scandal-plagued Lincoln Hills and Copper Lakes Youth prisons, will ever get built is open to question. Counties, which were to run such facilities, started pulling out when it became clear that the state was not offering funding that would cover the cost of building and running the facilities.
The proposed rule, according to a DOC summary:
a. Creates provisions to protect and provide security to youth and staff.
b. Incorporates trauma-informed principles and best youth correctional practices.
c. Establishes structured programs and services that incorporate community partnerships,
vocational opportunities, independent living, life skills, leisure, and recreation activities.
d. Provides youth access to family and social supporters and involves them in programming and activities.
e. Establishes opportunities for family and social supporters to provide recommendations to the facility concerning programs, services, and operations.
f. Establishes complaint and grievance procedures for youth and family members.
g. Includes various definitions and provisions relating to the operation and design of a facility.
h. Establishes procedures for entities to request a variance of a standard under the chapter.
i. Incorporates minimum construction and physical environment requirements.
j. Establishes case planning and treatment that incorporates evidence-based practices which engages youth, family, and social supporters in an overall treatment approach.
k. Ensures facilities coordinate with local school districts to ensure youth have access to education.
l. Provides standards for documenting education of youth.
m. Establishes uniform data reporting requirements as required by the Department of Corrections.
n. Establishes admission criteria, screening, classification, assessment, release, and reentry standards.
o. Establishes minimum staffing and training requirements for facilities.
p. Incorporates health and mental health care requirements including screening, assessments, medical and dental care, mental health care, informed consent, suicide and self-harm prevention, and the administration of medication.
q. Provides records storage, reporting, and documentation requirements.
r. Requires entities to establish a youth conduct system that includes incentives for positive behavior and prohibits dispositions that are contrary to the rehabilitation of youth.
s. Establishes requirements concerning hygiene and sanitation.
t. Provides flexibility for facilities to be physically co-located with other facility types and identifies specified physical spaces that can be shared.
u. Disallows physical and visual contact between youth and adult inmates.
v. Requires an approved written operation plan and identifies required policy and procedures within the plan.
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