The Path to Safer Facilities is designed to increase preventative measures, enhance meaningful activities for youth, revise intervention strategies to hold youth accountable, and move away
from seclusion as punishment. More information is available here.
Our Path to Safer Facilities has expanded to communities. We are concentrated on preparing our youth for a lifetime of success through heightened reentry efforts with the goal of every
youth leaving our care with a solid plan to complete education and/or secure employment. This requires all of us working together, as well as embracing families and communities, to provide
youth with services and supports for successful reintegration into the community. As a result, recidivism will reduce and we will fulfill our vision of a safer Ohio.
An important goal is having a better balance between programming and security because the two work hand-in-hand. With good programming in place, safety improves. When safety improves, staff
feel better about their work. Boredom and troublesome behavior are prevented by keeping youth engaged in healthy activities. Path to Safer Facilities is designed to keep youth busy and
challenged while teaching them new skills.
The focus for the Path to Safer Facilities has been shaped by the feedback received from staff at cultural assessments, site visits, and countless conversations:
- Make facilities safer
- Reduce assaults on staff and youth
- Prevent violence
- Help youth develop and mature
- Teach youth skills for problem solving
- Provide treatment and education
The following factors are key to the success of Path to Safer Facilities:
- Train staff
- Deliver effective treatment and services to youth
- Reward and recognize positive behavior
- Increase meaningful programs and activities
- Build relationships between youth and staff
- Engage families
- Increase accountability
Staff are being equipped with a variety of tools:
- Meaningful activities for youth: activities that are full of meaning, significance, and purpose
- Motivational Interviewing, verbal strategies, and de-escalation techniques
- Trauma-Informed Care
- Desirable incentives for youth
- Engaging youth through quality education: career tech, apprenticeships, college classes, and Freedom Schools
- External partnerships with families, courts, volunteers, and community organizations
An important component is supporting staff. The staff of DYS is the agency's most important resource, and it’s critical for staff to be healthy in order for our youth to get healthy.
In addition to supporting staff through training, the following supports are key:
- Critical Incident Stress Management to support staff when they experience trauma
- Peer Assistance to help staff with personal issues
- Desert Waters, which is a program to improve culture by addressing correctional fatigue through awareness, validation, and a variety of tools
If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback related to Path to Safer Facilities, please email Questions@dys.ohio.gov
The following links provide a variety of resources related to Path to Safer Facilities. Please note that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department of Youth Services.