Site descriptions

Together, the APPA and ACA/IBH projects comprised eight demonstration sites (see table 2). The following descriptions provide a capsule view of each site.

Table 2

American Probation and Parole Association sites

Although the APPA demonstration sites were predominantly community corrections agencies, they were not necessarily limited to these. Five sites were selected for the first period of technical assistance; three continued in a second phase of the project.

Division of Youth and Family Services, Justice Branch, Lexington, KY. This is the only county-based juvenile probation service in Kentucky. Line officers who attended an APPA training program on Identifying and Intervening With Drug-Involved Youth initiated the proposal for this program. They targeted youth who were adjudicated delinquents and identified as drug- and alcohol-involved because of drug-related charges, self-disclosure, or identification by their supervising probation officer.

A program-developed instrument for assessing alcohol or other drug involvement was incorporated in the agency's social history form. Drug recognition techniques and urinalysis were used to screen for recent use of illicit drugs. The probation department further allowed cooperative parents to take home alcohol test kits to detect whether their children used alcohol on weekends or evenings.

Graduated sanctions were outlined for youth who continued using substances after entering the program. These ranged from verbal confrontation, home restrictions, and earlier curfews to referrals for in- or outpatient treatment and possible filing of probation violation charges. This program also provided a family orientation for all youth entering the program. A contract detailing the responsibilities of all persons involved (youth, family members, and program staff) was developed for each case. Youth in the program also were required to attend a 10-session substance abuse education course.

Administrative Office of the Courts, Probation Department, Lincoln, NE. This site consisted of three juvenile probation districts in Nebraska. Identification of substance-abusing youth was accomplished through use of self-report assessment instruments, drug recognition techniques, and both onsite instrument and noninstrument urinalysis. During the first phase of the program, most interventions with alcohol- and drug-involved youth consisted of referrals to an array of community treatment options; few interventions for either positive or negative findings were initiated directly by probation officers. During the second phase of the program, APPA staff provided further technical assistance to help program administrators and staff develop additional responses for youth in the program.

Westchester County Probation Department, White Plains, NY. This site represented another county-based probation department. Three family courts were served by the probation department. The agency planned to perform chemical dependency screening during the predisposition investigation stage to identify youth with substance abuse problems as early as possible. The identification process consisted of varied combinations of substance abuse self-report screening instruments, drug recognition techniques, urinalysis, and saliva testing for alcohol. Probation officers used the screening instruments to determine which juveniles to refer for a chemical dependency evaluation by a substance abuse treatment agency.

Supervision plans for youth were determined by the level of substance use. Drug recognition techniques and urinalysis were used after case disposition if authorized in the Orders and Conditions of Probation. Youth assessed as chemically dependent were assigned appropriate treatment and monitoring of their substance use. Those in earlier stages of substance use or abuse were assigned treatment, as deemed necessary by the evaluation agency, and monitored for substance use. Active collaboration between the treatment agency and the probation officer was expected. Supervision plans for "experimental users" focused on substance abuse education resources.

State of Utah, Juvenile Court, West Valley City, UT. In Utah's statewide juvenile probation system, two districts were targeted for the program. Youth were assigned at intake to various officers, and the assessment instrument used depended on the training the officer had received. Drug recognition techniques also were used as part of the assessment process, and noninstrument tests for specific drugs were performed onsite twice a week, while full drug screens were conducted twice per month.

Responses to positive test results included verbal reprimands, increased testing, more supervision contacts, and substance abuse evaluations. Drug education programs were operated by the agency's diversion office. Treatment program options included outpatient, day treatment, and residential treatment.

Virginia Department of Youth and Family Services, Richmond, VA. This program targeted 16 community-based sites for participation, including 13 court service units, 2 detention homes, and 1 group home. The program also targeted youth with alcohol and other drug problems returning from juvenile correctional facilities. These sites were primarily in rural communities.

The program used a substance abuse assessment instrument (based on self-report), drug recognition techniques, and urinalysis. After an initial screening, a service plan was developed for each youth. Youth with positive test results received therapeutic sanctions ranging from increased frequency of urine testing to recommendations for residential treatment. The program stressed that drug testing not be used for determining that youth violated probation or for bringing them before the court.

American Correctional Association/Institute for Behavior and Health Sites

All of the ACA/IBH sites were detention centers. Three sites were selected by the project to represent detention facilities of diverse sizes.

Madison County Juvenile Court Services, Jackson, TN. This facility, with 7 secure bedrooms, served 18 rural counties between Memphis and Nashville and expressed a commitment to keeping local youth in a rural environment. During the time of the survey, youth stayed at the facility an average of 3 to 5 days. The facility was coeducational, and about three-quarters of the youth served were males. There were eight full-time staff and a supervisor at the center.

All youth underwent urine testing at intake. Both positive and negative drug test results were given to the court director, who referred cases to the two court intake workers. Based on the test results, these workers requested a formal alcohol and drug assessment or made recommendations to the court. They also notified parents of youth who tested positive. If found to be abusing substances, juveniles may have:

  • Been placed in a drug/alcohol safety education class.
  • Received weekly substance abuse counseling.
  • Been placed in a residential treatment program.

Test results of nondelinquent youth placed in detention (e.g., runaways) were given to referral agencies.

Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, Marion, OH. This secure facility houses 24 males and 12 females from a 9-county area. During the time of the survey, the area served by the center was predominantly white, rural, and middle class. Thirty-three full- and part-time staff worked in the facility.

The drug-testing program was implemented during the intake process and used an onsite instrument method for processing and analyzing the tests. When juveniles tested positive or self-reported substance use, they were referred for a formal substance abuse assessment. They were referred to appropriate treatment options based on the assessment of risk. Parents were notified of test results and included in the assessment process. Juveniles who tested positive or admitted drug use were required to attend a 10-week drug education course offered both at the detention center and in the community. In addition, as appropriate, they could have been referred for substance abuse counseling at a local clinic, other treatment programs, or 12-step programs in the community.

Jackson County Juvenile Court, Kansas City, MO. At the time of the survey, this facility had a capacity to house 56 males and 16 females. Fifty-three full-time staff operated the program. Urine specimens collected from youth during intake were sent to an outside laboratory for analysis. A BreathalyzerTM also was used to test for intoxication if youth were suspected of drinking alcohol.

Drug test results were used to help the court commissioner and judges determine appropriate dispositions of cases. Most juveniles testing positive for drugs were required to attend a 7-week, 21-hour substance abuse education program with their families. Weekly individual and group counseling sessions were held in the detention center. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings also were held at the facility. Volunteer mentors encouraged youth to attend community 12-step meetings after they were released from detention.

Drug Identification and Testing in the Juvenile Justice System May 1998