It’s operated in a correctional facility, but run by the staff of an adolescent psychiatric unit. As well, she said, “therapeutic treatment is highly individualized, tailored to the youth” and based on their specific needs.
It’s a treatment process Van Rybroek, the centre’s director, compares to the constellation of Orion. “The juvenile treatment program has a lot of stars, and each star is a component that has to do with trying to help this youth stay safe,” he said. The exterior of the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Centre in Madison, Wis., treats teen boys with complex mental health and behavioural issues who haven’t responded to standard treatment within Wisconsin’s juvenile corrections system. (Submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services)
A large component of the program involves “decompression” treatment, where youth are gradually moved from a prison cell to other environments, like a classroom or office, where they can experience increasing levels of freedom. Another piece involves measuring the youth’s behavior twice daily, and adjusting their privileges accordingly.
For example, youth making good progress may be moved to a less restrictive setting.