MEASURING THE IMPACT OF IMPLEMENTING AN EFFECTIVE PRACTICE SKILLS TRAINING MODEL IN YOUTH DETENTION

Dr Phillipa Evans1

1University Of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Recent years have seen a number of incidents in youth detention centres in Australia and other places. These have led to inquiries and reviews with some suggesting that detention centres often don’t even meet basic human rights and do little in terms of providing opportunities for rehabilitation of residents.

While there is an increasing body of research suggesting that community based supervision can be effective in reducing recidivism if appropriate skills are used by supervisors, there has been less work considering worker skills in youth detention settings. The research that has been done, however, suggest that teaching interpersonal skills to youth officers may be effective in enhancing the rehabilitation culture of centres. Positive outcomes have been seen in a UK detention centre for example, from teaching staff to do five-minute problem-solving interventions.

The aim of this project is to examine the effectiveness of training and coaching youth detention staff in three NSW detention centres in interpersonal practice skills. Effectiveness is defined in terms of reductions in the frequency of critical incidents and improvements in the well-being of staff and young people.  The research is important as the results may lead to the development of more humane and rehabilitative experiences for young people.

The study is supported by a grant from and Australian Research Council and NSW Juvenile Justice.


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