Positive behaviour management and incident prevention recommendations

The Review made 83 recommendations. These were sorted into work programs for implementation.

Our objectives

We will recognise that challenging behaviour may have developed as a response to past truamatic experiences.

We will build positive, trusting relationships with young people, and encourage them to make appropriate devision by promoting behaviours.

The way forward

To achieve this we will:

  • improve the way we use rewards and consequences to encourage good behaviour
  • strengthen behaviour management and de-escalation
  • make better use of post-incident supports such as restorative justice approaches and debriefs to reduce the risk of further incidents
  • streamline our procedures for managing incidents, ensure they work well and staff have a good understanding of them
  • provide intensive therapeutic support to young people who are a high risk to the safe operation of the centre
  • improve individual risk assessment processes
  • improve the way we assess security risks
  • better manage the dynamics of young people in accommodation units.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that Youth Justice should create a consistent uniform standard to apply at both BYDC and CYDC. The uniform standard should not reflect a police style uniform. (1.R1)

We have implemented a consistent uniform standard at both youth detention centres.

Recommendation 2 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that Youth Justice should create a consistent standard regarding access to clocks to apply at both BYDC and CYDC. (1.R2)

We have made clocks accessible to all young people in youth detention centres. Clocks will be installed in the new West Moreton Youth Detention Centre at Wacol.

Recommendation 20 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that access to programs, particularly those which relate to education and culture, should not be restricted on a punitive, behaviour management basis. (9.R4)

Our behaviour development policy clearly states that young people must not be excluded from educational, vocational or cultural programs for disciplinary purposes. There are times when we must exclude young people from programs due to safety concerns.

We have:

  • introduced restorative practices as part of the behaviour development framework to provide staff with additional options for problem behaviours and conflict
  • put clearer guidelines in place about appropriate rewards and consequences
  • put new processes in place to ensure young people get program materials if they are in separation.

Recommendation 33 (status – complete)

The Review considers that security dogs should not be used in youth detention centres as a means of responding to incidents or disciplining young people. (11.R1)

The use of security dogs at Cleveland Youth Detention Centre stopped on 16 October 2015. We have no intention to re-introduce security dogs to young detention centres.

Recommendation 34 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that staff should seriously consider a range of options to address misbehaviour by young people, and consider whether a BDP, or a BDP imposing separation and isolation, is the best option for addressing misbehaviour for a particular young person. (12.R1)

We have introduced a range of new practices and resources to help young people manage their behaviour, including:

  • restorative practice where young people manage conflict and take responsibility for their actions
  • speech and language pathologists joining behaviour support teams on centre to help with the development of holistic intervention plans
  • a more effective rewards and incentives program
  • the review of the existing behaviour development model to ensure behaviour is managed with an effective, therapeutic, culturally-appropriate and trauma-informed approach
  • new behaviour support plans and practices to better support young people to regulate their behaviour
  • professional staff continuing to support and upskill operational staff to promote individualised responses.

Recommendation 35 (status – in progress)

The Review recommends that BDPs should be a tool to address misbehaviour in an individual way that attempts to redress and reduce individual misbehaviour and the underlying causes of it. (12.R2)

In addition to the work outlined in recommendation 34, we have made policy and procedure updates to support decisions that are:

  • trauma-informed
  • individual
  • culturally-appropriate.We tailor behaviour support plans to each young person.

We work with young people collaboratively to identify their triggers, supports and management strategies.

We have developed a new behaviour support plan to support this. It takes a strengths-based approach to working with young people who need extra support due to complex needs or challenging behaviours.

Recommendation 36 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that additional training should be provided to multi-disciplinary teams and staff creating interim BDPs to ensure that a BDP for a young person is personal and individually tailored to meet the needs identified in response to the young person’s misbehaviour. (12.R3)

See the work outlined in recommendations 34 and 35.

The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning has delivered training to a range of professional and operational staff to develop and support expertise in this area.

We will explore further training and development to ensure we evolve with best practice.

Recommendation 37 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the imposition of periods of separation or isolation should not be a default condition on a BDP. Staff should ensure that any decision to impose separation is in accordance with the law and policies and supported by evidence showing how the requirements of both are satisfied for each separation. (12.R4)

The existing policy requires that any decision to separate a young person must be actioned in accordance with the Youth Justice Act 1992 and the Youth Justice Regulation 2016. Separation is not a default condition of behaviour development plan.

Unlawful separations are not tolerated by the department. We will refer staff suspected of approving an unjustified separation to the relevant investigative body.

Recommendation 38 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the Chief Executive or delegate should ensure that each young person at a youth detention centre has access to education appropriate to the child’s age and must ensure that adequate training is provided to detention centres staff about their legal obligations to ensure a child receives education material in accordance with Youth Justice principle 20(g). (12.R5)

An MOU is in place with the Department of Education to provide education services in youth detention. They ensure that all young people in youth detention have access to education that is appropriate for their age and developmental level. Our speech pathologists also help and provide additional support to young people and staff as required.

Recommendation 52 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that staff who are no longer required to manage an incident should leave the area. (16.R2)

Advice has been provided to staff and the relevant policies and procedures have been reviewed and amended.

Recommendation 59 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the responses in relation to incidents under the Protective Actions Continuum should be revised in order to remove inconsistencies in response to varying categories of risk. (17.R1)

The relevant policy and associated procedures have been reviewed and amended.

Recommendation 60 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the relevant policy and operations manual should be updated to state specific circumstances as to when handcuffs are to be applied to a young person’s hands in front of their body or behind their back. (17.R2)

The relevant policy and associated procedures have been reviewed and amended.

Recommendation 61 (status – complete)

The review recommends that the inconsistency in the policy and the operations manual regarding who is authorised to apply restraints should be resolved. (17.R3)

The relevant policy and associated procedures have been reviewed and amended.

Recommendation 62 (status – closed)

The Review recommends that the CYDC management should require the recording of the classification of the force used along with a justification of the force used in accordance with the PAC:

  • to show that adequate justification for the use of force is included in the DCOIS report; and
  • to allow the Inspectorate to conduct a review into whether the use of force in an incident was justified. (17.R4)

Specialised incident report writing training has been provided to CYDC operational staff. Operational staff will be required to improve the standard, quality and consistency of incident report writing and classification. Quality assurance and oversight will strengthen this process.

Existing reporting procedures require comprehensive records to be kept about incident management.

Recommendation 63 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that all CYDC staff responsible for the classification of incidents in DCOIS at CYDC should undergo additional training in appropriate classification rating of incidents within 6 months of the date of this report.

Such additional training should be approved by both the ADG and ESU Inspectorate as being sufficient to address the concern that incident classification is accurately recorded in future.

Such training should satisfy both the ADG and ESU Inspectorate that the approved retraining will ensure that all external oversight bodies are informed of all higher level incidents as required in future. (17.R5)

This training was approved and delivered to relevant staff at CYDC in July 2017.

A comprehensive incident classification training module was developed for all staff. It is available in the department’s online training environment.

Recommendation 64 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the use of PAC level 3 and 4 responses should be reviewed by the Executive Director of the Centre and ESU Inspectorate to decide whether the response was appropriate in the circumstances (including whether, because of the nature of the incident, it may have been classified as a PAC level or 2 risk). (17.R6)

Our incident management process has many levels of oversight and quality assurance. These are critical to identify if Youth Justice Regulations about use of force, restraints and separation have not been followed.

Because of this recommendation, we have reviewed and strengthened these processes. We have clarified incident review roles to ensure that the Deputy Director and Executive Director are given comprehensive advice about incidents and whether there are any concerns about inappropriate use of force.

The Inspectorate were consulted on these changes. They will continue to monitor and report on the use of force.

Recommendation 65 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the policy relating to the use of force, including ground stabilisation, should be amended to emphasise that ground stabilisation is to be used as a last resort, and only for an incident requiring a PAC level 4 response, and only if there is no other way of managing the situation and securing the young person’s safety, cooperation or to ensure the safety of another person.

All staff involved in the care and management of young people should be made aware through training that the use of force, including ground stabilisation, is to be used as a last resort in cases where a PAC level 4 response is appropriate. (17.R7)

The relevant policy, procedures and training materials have been reviewed and amended. We continue to implement trauma informed practice across the behaviour management model, including more de-escalation techniques. This will help to prevent and minimise incidents.

Recommendation 66 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that all staff should be train in de-escalation techniques.

All use of force, which includes any actual physical contact with a young person, should be classified at a minimum of PAC level 3 response. (17.R8)

The relevant policy, procedures and training materials have been reviewed and amended. We continue to implement trauma informed practice across the behaviour management model, including more de-escalation techniques. This will help to prevent and minimise incidents.

Recommendation 67 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that continuous separations based on factors in the Youth Justice Regulation 2016 should be supported by contemporaneous evidence justifying the separation. (17.R9)

Our existing policy requires any decision to separate a young person to be actioned in accordance with the Youth Justice Act 1992 and the Youth Justice Regulation 2016. Unlawful separations are not tolerated by the department and any staff member suspected of approving an unjustified separation will be referred to the relevant investigative body.

We have reviewed separation records to make sure that the right evidence has been provided for continuous separations. We will continue to improve our practice and record keeping.

Recommendation 68 (status – closed)

The Review recommends that the food provided to a young person whilst they are in a separation room or subject to a BDP should be accurately recorded. If adequate food or prescribed medication is not provided, the reason for the failure to provide either essential should be recorded and justified by evidence explaining why it was appropriate to withhold the provision of food or medication. (17.R10)

The relevant policy and procedures are currently being reviewed to ensure this is clarified.

Recommendation 69 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that all records relating to the application of restraints should contain a sufficient basis for objective determination of the reasonable grounds upon which the decision to apply restraints to a young person was made. (17.R11)

Our policies and procedures require restraint records to include detailed reasons of the need for the restraints. We have reviewed why this did not happen. We will continue to improve our practice and record keeping.

Recommendation 70 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that additional training should be provided to people on multi-disciplinary teams and people creating interim BDPs to ensure that a BDP for a young person is personal and individually tailored to meet the needs identified in response to the young person’s misbehaviour. (17.R12)

See work outlined in recommendations 34, 35 and 36.

Recommendation 73 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that staff should be counselled and trained on the legislation and policy outlined in this chapter of the report. (17.R15)

Youth detention operational staff receive annual mandatory competencies training. This includes legislation and policies.

A specific workshop was also held in July 2018 for senior operational staff at CYDC, to address this recommendation.

Recommendation 74 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that the use of force at CYDC should be reviewed and staff be train in de-escalation techniques and other alternatives to the use of force, including instruction that the use of force (ground stabilisation) and mechanical restraints (handcuffs) are to be used only when all other measures have failed, and otherwise limited to use in emergency situations only. That training should include cultural sensitivity training regarding physical intervention and shame. (18.R1)

We have reviewed and updated the relevant training.

While we consider this recommendation complete, we will be looking at options to further embed trauma informed practice across the behaviour management model (including expanded de-escalation techniques). We will also actively explore issues regarding cultural sensitivity as part of this process.

Recommendation 77 (status – complete)

Staff who authored the documentary records identified in this chapter (Chapter 19) should be retrained in minimum standards of documentation requirements to provide accurate documentary entries reflecting all interventions (including methods of restraint) and incidents. (19.R2)

Youth detention operational staff receive annual mandatory competencies training. This includes legislation and policies.

We have strengthened our quality assurance and oversight of incident reports to support staff to meet these requirements. Specialised incident report writing training was also given to CYDC operational staff in April and May 2018.

Recommendation 78 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that Youth Justice policies, procedures and manuals should be amended to positively preclude the use of restraints to ‘hog-tie’ (or restraint by means of a similar description) a young person. Alternatively, the Youth Justice legislation should be amended to reflect that where a number of restraints are used in combination (except transport restraints – ie approved handcuffs and ankle cuffs) each specific combined use should be approved by the Director-General of DJAG with concurrent approval from the Director-General of Queensland health. (19.R3)

While the existing policy and procedures did not support the use of restraints in this manner, for clarity we have amended the relevant policies and procedures. The use of leg cuffs on centre is now strictly prohibited.

Recommendation 79 (status – complete)

The Review recommends that in addition to a list of approved restraints, Youth Justice policies should provide clear descriptions of how they are to be used (e.g. whether they may be used in combination, and if so the method by which this combination is achieved). This is particularly important given that, upon its commencement on 26 August 2016, the Youth Justice Regulation 2016 required individual staff members to hold the reasonable beliefs necessary to exercise the power pursuant to Section 19(1). This is in contrast with Sections 20(2) and (3) of the Youth Justice Regulation 2003 (repealed), which entrusted delegated managers only. (19.R4)

The restraints policy has been updated to provide clear descriptions on how restraints are to be used in combination.