Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) is operated by Youth Connections, LLC, under contract to Youth Court, Juvenile Probation in Ravalli County, Montana. ISP offers alternatives to long term placement or institutionalization for new and repeat juvenile offenders.
· Risk Assessment
· Electronic monitoring
· Intensive supervision visits in home weekly
· Regular contact with family, school and counselors
· Daily telephone contact with student
· Community resource referrals and follow-up
· Weekly classes in life skills, crafts, recreation and substance abuse
· Regular reports to Probation Officers
· Advocacy, brokerage and networking with local service providers
Court ordered youth from Ravalli County are served by this program. In the past, this region has experienced a high rate of institutional placement, and increased youth offender statistics. ISP offers youth the opportunity to stay in the community and to continue with school and local support providers. ISP imposes the strict monitoring required to limit opportunities for re-offence. This creates significant savings to the county and state’s budgets which is then reinvested in appropriate activities for youth. ISP placement may occur prior to entering a plea or after a plea has been ordered and sentencing has taken place, depending on the youth.
PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES
ISP offers alternatives to institutionalization for new and repeat juvenile offenders. ISP objectives are as follows:
ISP works out of an office located in Hamilton, Montana and works with various organizations and individuals to provide specific services.
Youth enter the program by referral of a Juvenile Probation Officer. Youth Connections Staff goes to the home to install electronic monitoring devices and review program with student and parents. They enter the client into EM system, and set up weekly schedule, including school attendance, work hours, activity hours, and counseling or medical appointments. They refer information to the IS Coordinator who sets up a weekly appointment for student in home. During that time she reviews student’s environment and adjustment to the consequences that have been imposed. She notes areas that might be strengthened, service providers that need to be accessed and has student sign releases to access other providers’ input. Subsequent visits develop rapport, explore tension areas, identify further needs and encourage a “strengths” perspective. Student must attend all appointments and participate in court ordered activities on a regular basis. The Coordinator calls students during the evenings and on weekends, develops rapport with them and alerts probation staff members if stress areas are developing. All youth are supervised, monitored and held accountable twenty-four hours a day.
· Youth Connections Director, David Hunkapiller, coordinates services, is the electronic monitoring specialist, coordinates the Community Service Program, collects data, schedules students daily and maintains records. He is on-call 24 hours a day to the EM system, youth and their families.
· Intensive Supervision Coordinator, Star Jameson, B.S.W., monitors youth on house arrest through weekly home visits, by phone daily, coordinates services, recommends community resources based on family’s needs, and makes reports and recommendations to Probation Officers.
· Community Service Supervisors, schedules community services workers and supervises them after school and on Saturdays.
All youth in the ISP Program live at home with their parents or guardian. Parental involvement is vital to the overall success of a youth in the ISP. Parents are invited to be involved in all aspects of their child’s participation. They are referred to service providers for information, counseling, and treatment if they are seeking those services.
Upon admission to ISP, all youth are on house arrest under direct supervision of their parents or guardians. They are permitted to attend school/work, medical and counseling appointments and ISP activities. They are given a predetermined amount of travel time to and from approved destinations. Generally, parents and youth spend more time together than they had prior to the arrest. Parents are transporting, are the link between the student and the ISP Coordinator about scheduling issues, and are the supervisors during shopping visits or holiday outings. ISP staff are particularly alert to family dynamics and recommend community services whenever appropriate. Without parental cooperation and support, students are not likely to complete their time in ISP without re-offending.
All youth placed in ISP are monitored by BI-Home Escort series electronic monitoring system developed by BI Inc., based in Boulder, Colorado. This system as the ability to record all entries and exits from the youth’s house by the youth. Each youth is assigned a transmitter which is worn on the lower calf/ankle area. Each youth is assigned a monitoring device which communicates with the BI Guard Center through a standard or cellular phone. ISP Coordinator is notified of if the client leaves without permission, does not return or returns late.
The transmitter incorporates state-of-the-art electronic technology. The transmitter is the size of a common business card and weighs only 3.8 ounces. It is waterproof and tamperproof. Included in this series is the BI9000 drive-by unit, which is a hand held monitor. It permits the electronic monitoring of clients by just driving by their home, school, place of employment or in the community.
The in-home monitoring system provides continuous, 24-hour a day coverage of youth in ISP. At any time, day or night, it can be determined if a youth is in his home. Probation Officers are notified and apprehend any ISP client that violates house arrest. This could occur if a youth leaves his or her home during unauthorized hours or if they tamper with the equipment or transmitter.
Youth are involved in individual counseling, group counseling, peer counseling and family intervention through referral to community service providers. The primary treatment objective for each youth is to develop pro-social norms and behaviors. This is achieved through exposing them to numerous topical seminars and educational programs. ISP staff facilitate these programs; however, outside speakers and experts are utilized.
Every aspect of the ISP is designed to change negative behaviors through education and positive role modeling. We work with the following agencies to accomplish this:
· Youth Court : Juvenile Probation Officers do initial intakes with offenders, refer to ISP indicating the level of supervision required. A system of graduated sanctions is in place in Juvenile Probations. Ongoing communication takes place between ISP Staff and JPO’s as to the student’s progress.
· Kids First: A community prevention center housed in a former school, this organization offers a wide range of youth activities. ISP rents a classroom in the building to offer late-afternoon activities and coordinates with other classes offered in the building. Our community strongly supports Kids First, a federally funded prevention program which offers information and support to local schools and community groups.
· Addiction Services: Substance abuse recovery services are offered by local licensed providers in group and individual format for adolescents, including Sober Saturday, a class for first time MIP offenders and their parents, and Insight, a 6-week psycho-educational series. Counselors attend Youth Court/ISP meetings to discuss individual cases and plan for efficient service provision. A key tool in the assessment of all clients is urinalysis, which is randomly administered. Youth are referred out for treatment.
Substance use, abuse and dependency continue to have a devastating impact on our community. Crime, unemployment, family dysfunction, and other mental health issues are all exacerbated by the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The majority of ISP clients have been adversely influenced by the drug culture. Whether they were enticed into drug sales, drug usage, live with addicted parents, or all of the above, they have been victimized as a result of the influx of legal and illegal drugs into their lives.
Youth Connections L.L.C.