Brookwood Secure Center for Youth

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Brookwood Secure Center for Youth is in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, southeast of the City of Hudson.

The youth served at Brookwood are male and female juvenile offenders and adolescent offenders who, while younger than 16, committed certain violent felonies and were convicted and sentenced in adult criminal court or via family court as part of Raise the Age legislation. Depending upon the sentence, youth may remain in OCFS custody up to age 21.

Juvenile delinquents under the jurisdiction of the family court may also be placed at Brookwood if they have been transferred from a limited secure facility through an administrative action (referred to as being "fennered") for violent behavior. Juvenile delinquents may remain in OCFS custody up to age 18 depending on their placement order.

Brookwood has a maximum capacity of 125 youth. The original facility was constructed in 1963 and consists of four 14-bed living units. In 1997, five more 14-bed living units were added, along with a 12-bed living unit and an eight-bed living unit. The academic/school area consists of a library, a computer room, a gymnasium, a wellness center, a dining hall, a recreation/all purpose room, a print shop, a building trades shop, a horticulture shop, an infirmary and several administrative offices.

Outdoor recreational facilities include four basketball courts, a handball court, two baseball fields and a football field. All youth housed there participate in the certified Intensive Residential Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Services Program. The program is certified by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support pursuant to Article 32, Title 14 of the New York State Mental Hygiene law. This facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association.


Program Services

A team approach to treatment provides for all aspects of each youth's needs. The facility's comprehensive program includes academic, vocational and special education, a youth behavior management system, substance abuse counseling, medical care and mental health care. Youth receive health and HIV/AIDS education and challenge-based physical education. Specialized training at the facility focuses on anger management, victim awareness, independent living and computer skills. Staff also ensure that family issues, home issues and legal concerns are addressed.

New York Model Comprehensive Treatment Approach

The New York Model is values-driven, treatment-based, trauma-focused and future-oriented. It strives to use treatment modalities and program interventions that are trauma-sensitive, trauma-responsive, skills-based and empirically supported to address the interconnected cultural, familial and individual needs of our youth who often present with mental health, substance abuse and trauma-related issues. These issues are not only a major focus of treatment, but are important to identify as potential impediments to the engagement of treatment itself. By incorporating both the Sanctuary model (to provide a therapeutic and trauma-sensitive milieu) and evidence-based treatment models such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy or Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the program's goals of fostering emotional stabilization and enhancing the likelihood of a youth's success in both the facility and in the community can be reached.

Family Involvement

Family members and guardians are highly encouraged to become involved in a youth's program and to maintain contact during a youth's stay at the facility. OCFS, through community multi-services offices (CMSOs), provides train and bus tickets (from the New York City area) so that parents and guardians can have contact with their children. Visiting hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with arrangements made through the youth's counselor. Special/emergency visits may be arranged as needed. Parents and guardians are also invited to their youth's monthly support team meeting. Youth are also eligible to make free phone calls to family members weekly and may receive calls daily from family members.

Counseling and Therapy

Each youth's assigned case manager provides counseling to the youth weekly and on an as-needed basis. The youth's clinician provides therapy weekly, based on the youth's support plan needs. Counseling programs available to all youth include the following:

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a clinical treatment modality that focusses on developing skills in the areas of mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal skills. Groups are offered weekly with skill building reviewed as part of the youth's treatment plan.
  • Sanctuary Model is a blueprint for clinical and organizational change that, at its core, promotes safety and recovery from adversity through the active creation of a trauma-informed community. A recognition that trauma is pervasive ln the experience of human beings forms the basis for the Sanctuary Model's focus not only on the people who seek treatment, but equally on the people and systems who provide that treatment. Sanctuary Treatment focuses on the S.E.L.F – Safety, Emotion, Loss and Future. Groups are held twice weekly and skill building practiced in community meetings and individual counseling.
  • Substance Education is provided concerning the role substances play in an individual's life, as well as the physical, social and legal implications of substance use, abuse and addiction. Those youths who are identified with special needs regarding their substance abuse issues are selected for treatment that includes specialized individual and group counseling and education.

The facility provides educational programming for youth per New York State Education Department requirements. State assessments, including Regents Examinations and Regents Competency Tests, are provided to eligible students. The Committee on Special Education (CSE) addresses special education needs for classified students and Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are developed for students with disabilities. Parents/guardians of special education students are advised of CSE meetings, as well as the special needs of their youth that are being addressed at the facility.

The facility is a Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC, a national school equivalency assessment test) site that offers the test youth who meet established criteria. For those youth receiving an equivalency diploma, the facility has entered a partnership with Columbia Greene Community College (a State University of New York school) and offers college-level courses at the facility for those who wish to continue their education. Report cards are issued quarterly to youth and to parents/guardians.

Vocational Opportunities

Vocational instructors provide training in building trades, horticulture/landscaping, graphic arts and print shop. In addition to vocational training, there are a couple of programs available for youth to earn credentials/certifications:

  • The Home Builder’s Institute (HBI) Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a U.S. Department of Labor­approved training curricula, offers certifications in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping maintenance, barbering and custodial maintenance. The HBI curriculum integrates contextual work-based learning with vocational and academic skills training in the classroom. These include employability and life skills, career development and on-the-job training. Youth enrolled in the HBI program will also receive the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour construction industry outreach training program, which provides an entry-level construction worker's general awareness in recognizing and preventing hazards on a construction site.
  • The New York State Weatherization Directors Association (NYSWDA) is a four-day, intensive training program focused on building science.
Health Services

Comprehensive health services are provided by licensed health professionals, including a physician, physician's assistant and nurse practitioner.

Registered nurses are on duty during day and evening shifts seven days a week. Upon admission, each youth has a comprehensive health assessment, and an initial plan of care is developed.

Immunizations are brought up to date following current public health recommendations. Eye and dental services are also provided on-site. Nursing sick call occurs daily. Nurses refer health problems that cannot be addressed via routine nursing interventions to the physician's assistant, nurse practitioner or physician. Health staff initiate or continue needed health services via scheduled follow-up appointments.

A discharge plan is established on release to address the youth’s routine and specialized health care needs.

Mental Health

Mental health treatment is delivered by psychologists, licensed social workers and psychiatrists. Mental health treatment is available for all youth. Clinical personnel work directly for OCFS. Brookwood has consulting psychiatrists who provide psychopharmacological treatment. Assessment services include mental health and substance abuse assessment, evaluation of sex offense treatment needs, fire-setting assessment, and cognitive and neuropsychological assessment. Treatment services include crisis evaluation and intervention, individual/group/family therapy, mental health and substance abuse treatment and discharge planning. Facility treatment directors and clinicians facilitate psychiatric hospitalization where needed and are the facility liaisons to the hospital during the youth's stay.

Intensive Treatment Unit

Brookwood has a mental health services program that addresses and treats the needs of secure center youth who, by their behavior and/or history, have shown themselves to be mentally ill as determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, version 5 (DSM-5). This is a 10-bed, self-contained program that is staffed by a part-time psychiatrist and a full-time social worker.

Recreational Opportunities

The recreation program offers a wide range of activities from movies to several indoor and outdoor recreation areas. The outdoor areas include basketball courts, handball courts and baseball and football fields. The indoor areas include a gym, an activity room, a fully equipped Wellness Center and leisure activities on the living units. Youth participate in intramural sports activities throughout the year with the competition based on the season.

Enhancement Programs

Brookwood provides enhancement programming with funds provided by the governor's office that are based on the youth’s interests. The youth are surveyed every three months and can participate in the program of their choice. Brookwood offers six enhancement programs:

  • Culinary: Demonstrates fundamental cooking skills for showing youth how to prepare simple healthy scratch-made meals for themselves and also, skills that can transfer to employment in the restaurant industry.
  • STEAM: Youth will learn the basic elements of music as they relate to their chosen instruments, including voice. These elements are harmony, melody, rhythm, standard notation and timbre.
  • Holmquest: In collaboration with a local farm located near Brookwood, youth receive a comprehensive introduction and hands-on experience with agriculture/farming.
  • Art/Mural Program: Murals are painted in units and facility common areas. All skills necessary to the mural process are incorporated.
  • Music Production: Designed to introduce and instruct youth in the art of music production and beat-making. Accomplished producer(s) from the music industry mentor youth in constructing beats from both analogue and digital media.
  • Barbering: This is a 150-hour training program that provides the fundamental barbering skill set to the student while nurturing the growth and development of each participant. It is geared toward producing productive, professional individuals who will also learn how to be barbers. Students will be educated about the proper methods of sterilization and sanitation safety procedures, hygiene and nutrition, the history of the tonsorial art, proper work ethic and attire, barber theory, hair-cutting techniques, taxes and finances, licensing and entrepreneurship.
Religious Services

The religious program is a voluntary program that offers youth the opportunity to practice their faith. The services offered are based on the needs of the youth under the oversight of an agency chaplain.

Discrete Substance Abuse Program

The facility has a 14-bed, certified discrete substance abuse program to provide services for the treatment of this special-need population. The program is certified by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports pursuant to Article 32, Title 14 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law. Admission criteria are dependent on, but not limited to, a DSM-5 diagnosis for substance abuse.

This is a five-to-eight-month program that uses the "Seven Challenges" program – designed specifically for adolescents with drug problems – to motivate a decision and a commitment to change, and to support success in implementing the desired changes. The program simultaneously helps young people address their drug problems and their co-occurring life-skill deficits, situational problems and psychological problems.

Pre-Release Orientation

Release planning begins at intake. The facility support team members work closely with youth, parents and Community Service Team (CST) members to ensure that youth and their families receive the support needed for a timely and successful return to the community.

Services Following Release

Each youth who is designated as a juvenile offender (JO), adolescent offender (AO) or youthful offender (YO) is assigned a parole officer upon release from placement with OCFS. These officers assist in the youth's transition to home and help access community services to reduce recidivism. These community services may aid with housing, employment, education, substance abuse or mental health issues, family concerns, leisure time activities and other issues that affect the individual and their family. The parole officer will contact the youth's parent/guardian to schedule a home assessment and case conference as the youth's release date approaches.

Each youth who is designated a juvenile delinquent (JD) receives services from their community case manager via their home-based CMSO.