During the 2020 Legislative Session, Second Substitute House Bill 2277 Concerning Youth Solitary Confinement was passed. Beginning June 11, 2020, separating youth and confining them as a punishment or retaliation is prohibited. In recognition of the potential harm caused by prolonged confinement and the demonstrated ineffectiveness for reducing behavioral incidents, the bill further defined the limited instances when room confinement and isolation can be used. The model policy is intended to provide additional guidance on how to use room confinement or isolation in a way that advances the rehabilitative goals of the juvenile justice system in Washington State, and that it is not used as a punitive measure.
Cowlitz County has chosen not to adopt the model policy presented by the Department of Children, Youth, Families while creating our own which is similar but more specific to our smaller facility.Model policy for reducing confinement and isolation in juvenile facilities (wa.gov)
RCW 13.22.050 requires counties operating a detention facility must compile and report on their website data related to the room confinement and solitary confinement of youth in their custody.
RCW 13.22.060 also requires that confinement data be reported to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
Cowlitz County Youth Services provides a therapeutic, safe, and secure detention environment. The use of room confinement and isolation is solely used to (1) maintain the safety and security of our facility (2) protect youth from any violent, sexual, or harassing behavior. The facility does not promote youth to be in room confinement or isolation for any longer than necessary and provides encouragement for youth in behavior modification with the goal of reintegrating them into the daily programming of the facility.
Room Confinement- means a juvenile is separated from the youth population and placed in a room or cell that the juvenile is assigned to for sleeping, other than during normal sleeping hours or interim rest hours. “Room confinement” does not include time a youth requests to spend in their room or rest periods in between facility programming. Juveniles are in room confinement from the moment they are separated from others until they are permitted to rejoin the population.
Isolation- means confinement that occurs (a) when a youth is separated from the youth population and placed in a room for longer than 15 minutes for the purpose of discipline, behavior modification, or due to an imminent threat to the safety of the youth or others; and (b) in a room other the room assigned to the youth for sleeping. Juveniles are in isolation from the moment they are separated from others until they have rejoined the population.
Disclaimer: The room confinement/isolation report does not give a detailed description/reason of events that required a youth to be placed on either room confinement or isolation or detailed reasons for continuation of room confinement or isolation.
To view Cowlitz County Youth Services Confinement and Isolation Report CLICK HERE