Recalibrating Juvenile Detention : Lessons Learned from the Court-Ordered Reform of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center book cover
1st Edition

Recalibrating Juvenile Detention
Lessons Learned from the Court-Ordered Reform of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center

ISBN 9780367530013
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
582 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Recalibrating Juvenile Detention chronicles the lessons learned from the 2007 to 2015 landmark US District Court-ordered reform of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) in Illinois, following years of litigation by the ACLU about egregious and unconstitutional conditions of confinement. In addition to explaining the implications of the Court’s actions, the book includes an analysis of a major evaluation research report by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and explains for scholars, practitioners, administrators, policymakers, and advocates how and why this particular reform of conditions achieved successful outcomes when others failed.

Maintaining that the Chicago Crime Lab findings are the "gold standard" evidence-based research (EBR) in pretrial detention, Roush holds that the observed "firsts" for juvenile detention may perhaps have the power to transform all custody practices. He shows that the findings validate a new model of institutional reform based on cognitive-behavioral programming (CBT), reveal statistically significant reductions in in-custody violence and recidivism, and demonstrate that at least one variation of short-term secure custody can influence positively certain life outcomes for Chicago’s highest-risk and most disadvantaged youth. With the Quarterly Journal of Economics imprimatur and endorsement by the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, the book is a reverse engineering of these once-in-a-lifetime events (recidivism reduction and EBR in pretrial detention) that explains the important and transformative implications for the future of juvenile justice practice. The book is essential reading for graduate students in juvenile justice, criminology, and corrections, as well as practitioners, judges, and policymakers.

Table of Contents


1. He Walks with the Angels

2. The Court Acts

3. Staff of the Right Kind

4. Preparations for Reform

5. Implementing a Helpful Model of Conditions of Confinement

6. Implementing a Helpful Model of Conditions of Confinement

7. The Crime Lab Findings

8. Reverse-Engineering by the Crime Lab and CBT 2.0

9. Reverse Engineering by the Transitional Administrator: Climate Control and the External Active Ingredients

10. Reverse Engineering by the Transitional Administrator: Flipping the Switch and the Internal Active Ingredients

11. Recalibrating Juvenile Detention


Appendix A: On-the-Job Training

Appendix B: The Executive Team and the Key JTDC Departments

Appendix C: Origins of the DuPage Model

Appendix D: CBT Program Evaluation Form

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David Roush, PhD (Michigan State University), a specialist in juvenile justice with consulting experiences with over 260 institutions in 49 states, is co-founder of Juvenile Justice Associates, LLC. As a US Department of Justice (USDOJ) protection from harm specialist, he was a compliance monitor in multiple jurisdictions. He developed award-winning programs in juvenile detention and corrections (two from USDOJ and three from the National Association of Counties) and was one of the first to use cognitive behavior interventions with serious, violent and mentally ill juveniles in 1974. He taught courses and conducted research on conditions of confinement and coordinated national training and technical assistance services while at Michigan State University. He has held leadership positions in several professional juvenile justice and correctional health care associations, receiving distinguished service awards from state and national detention associations, the National Juvenile Court Services Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He lives in Michigan with his wife Nancy. They have two children and five grandchildren.


Dr. Roush's book is a down to earth blueprint of the process leading to successful reform of the largest US temporary juvenile detention facility, and is a must read for anyone interested in youth in juvenile detention. Reading like a living history, it is a serious work of scholarship chocked with frequent pearls of wisdom and advice with supporting science.
Carl C. Bell, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A., Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and former Director of the Institute of Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago

Recalibrating Juvenile Detention
is a must read for anyone interested in the complex world of juvenile detention facilities and reform. The story of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center is a fascinating account of a modern-day phoenix rising from the ashes. It is also a cautionary tale of what can happen when the focus shifts away from the ideals of juvenile reformation.  
Christopher Hansen, Ed.D., Chief Probation Officer, California

Recalibrating Juvenile Detention presents a blueprint for successfully running any juvenile detention center. It describes in vivid detail how to implement changes in the most challenging facility. Moreover, it provides a fascinating use of theoretical lenses, from punishment through mental illness, CBT, brain development, and trauma to explain the essential need for safety and relationships in this bold, healing plan.
Eugene Griffin J.D., Ph.D.

Comprehensive, detailed, relevant, and thought-provoking. Recalibrating Juvenile Detention highlights critical issues all juvenile justice professionals should be aware of. Roush’s massive undertaking results in a guide of lessons learned and recommendations for the future. Chapter 4 is particularly helpful for any juvenile justice practitioner working in a detention or correctional facility—from administrators to front-line staff.
Lisa Boesky, Ph.D., National Expert on Suicide & Mental Health in Juvenile Justice

Dr. Roush's book, Recalibrating Juvenile Detention should be required reading for any student of juvenile justice —particularly those focusing on juvenile detention—and any detention professional charged with the responsibility of implementing change on a major scale.  

Roush has done an excellent job of chronicling the lessons learned from the 2007-2015 landmark U.S. District Court-ordered reform of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) in Illinois, following years of litigation by the ACLU about egregious and unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

Roush clearly blends theory and practice as he describes in great detail what transpired in JTDC under the leadership Earl L. Dunlap, U.S. District Court appointed Transitional Administrator, resulting in a dynamic shift in the culture of the facility.
Mel Brown, Ph.D., President/CEO, Mel Brown and Associates

Recalibrating Juvenile Detention
is a refreshing guide to developmentally-sound care. David Roush is a remarkable teacher, weaving together countless stories from detention, research about youth, examples from reforms around the country, and lessons learned from those who inspired him. He describes how practices from past juvenile reforms escalate traumatized youth. Dr. Roush recognizes that most juveniles’ difficult behaviors are trauma-related and reactive, not something they can control: the innovation of "Flipping the Switch" is the act of slowing automaticity from "hot" emotions to "cool" emotions. Dr. Roush defines trauma responsiveness in staff as recalibration presented through the framework of adolescent development: both understanding the effects of trauma and immaturity and taking responsibility for earning trusting relationships with youth.
Marty Beyer, Ph.D., Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Consultant

The book presents a thoughtful and inspiring account of the court-supervised transformation of a large juvenile detention facility in Chicago, the city where the troubled American experiment in juvenile justice began. Dr. Roush provides a thorough analysis of how an extraordinary leader effectively used the broad powers granted him by a federal court to reverse years of abuse and neglect. The book leads the reader to two simple conclusions: First, providing safe conditions and effective services for young people in government custody makes a lasting difference not only to them, but also to the safety of their communities. Second, leadership matters, even if it has to be imposed on a broken system by a court.               
Benjamin S. Wolf, J.D., Legal Director, ACLU of Illinois