The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention launched PbS in 1995 in
response to its 1994 Conditions of Confinement Report documenting “deplorable conditions” in
its study of one thousand juvenile facilities. 217 PbS is a “set of goals and standards that facilities
and agencies should strive to meet,” along with “[t]ools to help facilities achieve these standards
through regular self-assessment and self-improvement” mechanisms. 218 PbS generates data that
helps to evaluate performance over time and compares similar facilities. 219
PbS views isolation as a “reportable event,” and limits its use significantly.
PbS standards are clear: isolating or confining a youth to his/her room should be
used only to protect the youth from harming himself or others and if used, should
be brief and supervised. Any time a youth is alone for 15 minutes or more is a
reportable PbS event and is documented. 220
PbS does not condone the use of isolation for punishment purposes. 221
2. American Correctional Association
The American Correctional Association (ACA) has established standards regarding the
conditions and administrative processes of juvenile detention facilities to which agencies must
adhere in order to receive ACA accreditation. 222 ACA policies recognize that children and youth
have distinct personal and developmental needs.
These standards permit removal of youth from general population who threaten the
secure and orderly management of the facility by placing them in special units. 223 The standards
recognize three types of removal practices:
Disciplinary Room Confinement: ACA standards limit disciplinary room confinement
to five days, and require visual checks by staff every fifteen minutes, along with daily visits by
personnel from administration, clinical, social work, religious, and/or medical units. 224 Youth in
disciplinary room confinement must be afforded living conditions and privileges earned that
approximate those in general population. 225
Protective Custody: ACA standards limit protective custody to those circumstances
where youth need protection from others and then only until another alternative permanent
housing option is found. 226 The standards require that continued protective custody should not
extend beyond seventy-two hours without approval of the facility administrator, and special
management plans should be created for these youth to ensure continuous services and
217 Performance-based Standards (PbS), PBS LEARNING INST., http://pbstandards.org/initiatives/performance-based-standards-pbs
(last visited Nov. 18, 2013).
219 PERFORMANCE-BASED STANDARDS, supra note 11, at 3.
220 PBS LEARNING INST., REDUCING ISOLATION AND ROOM CONFINEMENT 2 (2012),
http://pbstandards.org/uploads/documents/PbS_Reducing_Isolation_Room_Confinement_201209.pdf [hereinafter REDUCING
222 AM. CORR. ASS’N, PUBLIC CORRECTIONAL POLICY ON JUVENILE JUSTICE (2007); see also Standards and Accreditation, Seeking
Accreditation, AM. CORRECTIONAL ASS’N, https://www.aca.org/standards/seeking.asp (last visited Mar. 8, 2014) (explaining the
requirements of the accreditation process for agencies including an evaluation and standards compliance audit).
223 AM. CORR. ASS’N, supra note 7, at 51.