Training and Research on Strength-Based Practices in Juvenile Justice Facilities in Alaska

Status: complete

Research Question: Does training in and implementation of strength-based practices affect the social climate of juvenile justice facilities based on staff and resident surveys and critical incident reports?

Project Design: This project involved eight trainings at six juvenile justice facilities in Alaska (in Anchorage, Bethel, Juneau, Kenai, Nome, and Palmer). The trainings focused on increasing knowledge of and skills in using strength-based practices working with juvenile justice-involved youth. The 2-day workshops included interactive activities, a practice interview with a youth, and facilitated discussion to prepare for implementation of strength-based practices in each setting. Each site conducted the Correctional Institutions Environment Scale with staff and youth residents prior to the training and 6 months after the training, to measure changes in the social climate. Some facilities also measured changes in critical incidents (such as staff assaults, youth restraints, parent complaints, etc.).

Funding Source: Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Juvenile Justice

Start Date: October 2008

Project Team

Principal Investigator & Project Director

Juliette R. Mackin, Ph.D.

Reports and Publications:

Mackin, J. R., Linhares, R., & Weller, J. M. (Oct. 2009) Strength-based Practices and Youth Competency Assessment Training and Research Project – Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice Youth Facilities 2008-2009: Final Report. NPC Research: Portland, OR.
Report /

Barton, W. H., Mackin, J. R., & Fields, J. (2008) Assessing youth strengths in a residential juvenile correctional program. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 23(3/4).