Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    Locally operated

  • Detention

    Locally operated

  • Probation

    Locally operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

Washington's delinquency services are organized at the both the state and local level. Secure detention in Washington is administered by the local Superior Court in most counties. In Clallam, King, Skagit and Whatcom counties and one regional detention center maintained by a consortium of counties, the county legislative authority/county executive administers secure juvenile detention.

Community supervision in Washington is administered by local executive agencies (county boards) and local judicial agencies (county legislative authority).

The Washington Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR), a state social services agency, administers commitments to state public facilities and provides reentry services for those youth leaving those facilities. 

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Washington Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) administers commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities and provides reentry services for youth leaving those facilities.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is allowed in Washington's juvenile correctional facilities. Punitive room confinement is allowed up to 3 days. Programmed room confinement in which the juvenile is confined for only half of waking hours, is allowed up to 14 days (or longer with approval of the division director). Staff must periodically assess and remove youth from non-punitive isolation when the purposes of confinement have been met.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

Release decisions for youth committed to Washington Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services, Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) are the responsibility of the agency. The Assistant Secretary of JR  sets the release date using a prescribed range of commitment time from the sentencing guidelines. A  risk assessment is used if a juvenile is to be released before his or her maximum disposition expires. Every juvenile must be released by his or her maximum disposition.

Risk assessment, 2017

Organization 2013 2017
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Washington, juvenile probation services are administered by local juvenile courts. State statute requires the use of the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) statewide. The PACT is used to develop/inform pre-disposition investigation reports and/or planning, develop probation disposition recommendations to the juvenile court, assign probation supervision level, and develop probation case plans. The PACT is automated in Washington and the aggregate results are used for probation administration and organizational planning and to support ongoing juvenile justice policy research at the state level.

Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT)

Mental health screening, 2014

Does not require a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Mental health screening is not required.

Mental health screening tool used
Screening not required

Washington does not have specific statutes or regulations that require the use of a specific standardized mental screening instrument in juvenile justice. Secure detention is primarily locally administered (often by the court system) and the Mental Health Juvenile Detention Admissions Tool (MH-JDAT) is the most commonly used screening tool in detention.

Through its involvement in the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change initiative, Washington has compared the validity and reliability of the MH-JDAT to that of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2). The MH-JDAT was found to be comparable and thus remains in wide use in detention admissions screening. The last time all of the centers were surveyed, each of them either used the MH_JDAT or the MAYSI-2. There is also no state statute or administrative regulation requiring a specific approach to standardized mental health screening in juvenile probation, and practice varies by location. King County (Seattle) uses the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs Short Screener (GAIN-SS) to screen youth on probation. Additionally, the Positive Achievement Change Tool PACT uniform risk/need assessment tool contains mental health screening questions. The PACT is used statewide and may inform follow-up mental health assessment referrals, but there is no law or executive branch regulation mandating this practice.

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Washington supports the implementation and expansion of evidence-based programs and practices (EBPs) in the juvenile justice system through state policy, planning and dedicated funding. Washington has been a leading state in this regard for over a decade and has helped to organize and support the evidence for effective practice and intervention, with many states adopting and replicating EBPs first documented in Washington.

Most recently the Washington legislature passed legislation (E2SHB 2536) with an explicit purpose of ensuring "prevention and intervention services delivered to children in juvenile in the areas of mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice are primarily evidence-based." The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) and the University of Washington Evidence-Based Practice Institute (UW EBPI) are tasked with creating descriptive definitions and creating an inventory of evidence-based, research-based and promising practices and services. The inventory is to be used be state agencies to determine whether their current programs meet EBP criteria.

The state also has a long history of funding resource centers for advancing EBPs and providing support for administering high quality and cost effective Evidence Based Practice training; ensuring fidelity to EBP model standards and practice parameters through coaching, consultation, and fidelity measurement and feedback; developing assessment and decision tools to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of Evidence-Based program dissemination; and performing data analysis and reporting on basic performance measures.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Does not publish recidivism consistently over time.

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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