Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Juvenile Justice Residential Services (PA-JJR) 6: Service Culture

The service culture and daily living experiences support personal growth, rehabilitation, and positive behavior.
2020 Edition




Juvenile Justice Residential Services promote public safety by providing youth with a supportive, structured setting that helps them address their needs and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviors, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding citizens.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures regarding visits, phone calls, and mail
  • Program rules and expectations
  • Daily schedules for the previous six months
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth served and their families
  • Review case records
  • Observe program site and operations

PA-JJR 6.01

The agency maintains a therapeutic culture that encourages positive, respectful, and supportive interactions between:
  1. youth and personnel; and
  2. youth and their peers.
Examples: The agency can establish an appropriate culture by, for example, ensuring personnel model pro-social behavior and attitudes in daily interactions, and encouraging youth to do the same. This approach can also help to prevent bullying and other unsafe, negative, or anti-social peer interactions.
Note: The training and activities addressed in PA-JJR 11 will support the development of the positive, pro-social culture described in this standard.

PA-JJR 6.02

The agency maintains an accurate and readily-accessible schedule of services, and youth spend their days engaged in meaningful programming and activities.

PA-JJR 6.03

Treatment, services, and activities are appropriate for and sensitive to youths’ age, developmental level, language, disability, gender and gender identity, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and past experiences of trauma.

PA-JJR 6.04

Youth have opportunities to participate in activities appropriate to their needs, skills, and interests, including:
  1. sports and athletic activities;
  2. cultural enrichment activities;
  3. social activities; and
  4. religious services.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJR 6.05

The agency evaluates youth for their ability to participate in athletic activities and obtains as necessary:
  1. a medical records release; or 
  2. a signed document from a qualified medical professional stating that a youth is physically capable of participating.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJR 6.06

Youth have the right to:
  1. receive visits;
  2. make telephone calls; and
  3. send and receive mail.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJR 6.07

The agency allows for privacy in visits, phone calls, and correspondence to the extent possible and appropriate, and youth are informed of any limits on privacy.


Mail may be screened for contraband but should not be read for content without due cause, and all mail inspections should be done in the youth’s presence. Correspondence with attorneys may be inspected for contraband but should not be read, and phone calls and meetings with attorneys should not be monitored.