Wow this podcast is full of great insight and conversation as we have guest Jole Monroe on to discuss Juvenile systems and behavior change! You don’t want to miss this 2 part podcast!
We discuss so many great things including:
- Values and Behavior change
- Changing the Juvenile Systems industry approach to change
- Motivational Interviewing
- How Juvenile systems have changed over the years
Hello, and welcome to the communication solution podcast here at IFIOC. We love to talk communication. We love to talk motivational interviewing, and we love talking about improving outcomes for individuals, organizations, and the communities that they serve. Today, we’ve got Casey Jackson on the line, John Gilbert, and I’m Tammy.
Welcome to the conversation. You are listening to a two-part podcast. Hello everyone. And welcome back to the communication solution. We have our usual team of the IFIOC team and a very special. Today, we have a special guest, Jole Monroe.. And we will just be having a conversation here withJole, about all sorts of different things that we can dive into related to being a probation, counselor, and what that means.
And how would you use MI in a compliance. [00:01:00] Possibly perceived environment and all sorts of different angles of this. But before we do, I know Casey, you had some particular questions or things to maybe introduce us about or introduce Jole about. So if you wouldn’t mind kind of starting with.
Sure. Well, Jole and I have known each other personally, professionally for years. And I’ve watched Jole kind of move through the, through the juvenile system not from a child, but from just ongoing connections that I’ve had with different juvenile probation. You know, systems around the country.
But probably the most, because I live in Spokane as well, just such a connection and partnership, strong partnership with Spokane juvenile, and you know, where there was originally kind of some training at Motivational Interviewing and they wouldn’t hear about it for years. And then like a couple other trainings and then probably within the last 18 months to two years, Just it’s been more of an ongoing relationship, even on a statewide level at the JRA level that they’ve asked us to do trainings for all the, the [00:02:00] PCs around the state as well.
Just looking at a fidelity based integration and, and Jolie has really spearheaded that, and Spokane just always has a finger in theMotivational Interviewing side of things just going, how do we keep incorporating that? And how do we make it real? The, the thing that I want to tee up with with Jole as well too, and I think people will be interested in.
Is because from a supervisory level and an expectation on performance, what I know in the world that, that she works within is that they’re just legislatively. They’re just taking away. So many of the compliance tools, you know, always considered more of the hammers for compliance to keep juveniles, following conditions of probation, which are mandated.
Definitely, definitely accountability, Casey, like. Yeah, well, that’s, that’s what gets handed down to them to the, to the PC or the you know, the PC is that it’s the juveniles a broken. And there’s accountability for [00:03:00] that. So it’s beyond accountability. There is like, it’s not that yeah. You need to clean your room.
It’s like, there’s a whole different level of legal accountability. And historically there’s always been able to kind of rattle this, you know, kind of rattled the sheath of you know, you, you know, if you don’t do this, you’re going to go to detention or I’m going to put you in front of the judge. And so there’s always those kinds of threats that have had some.
At least it felt like there was some motor come of accountability that, that probation counselors could use. And more and more of those compliance methods have been taken away. Those tools have been taken away. And, but the expectation that the juveniles still follow through have not been taken away.
Those are still, you know, at the forefront. And I think that’s been, from my sense on at least a national level, why there’s been more and more gravitation towards evidence-based practices and specifically motivational interviewing. It’s like the way I train it is how do you use your words and how are you going to use communication to try to get.
You know, some behavior change to happen and try to see this in relationship with compliance. So that’s why I was so [00:04:00] excited about having Jole, come on to give us more of a three-dimensional perspective from supervising, trying to manage and really looking at both sides from the court expectation court order.
The pressure that’s on PCs and then looking at the youth as well, too, and the families and how complex it’s getting just more and more complex with those youth and families, 13 linguists. So I’m just going to spew all that out there, Jole, just because I know that now I know your brain’s already firing, so just dive in and respond at will.
So. Well, thank you for having me today. I’m very excited to be here and yes, we so appreciate the relationship that we have with your agency and the training, the quality training that our staff are always getting. But as I kind of briefly talked about prior, we have new staff coming on and we have this training coming up for motivational interviewing.
And so I’m really excited just to bring everybody in immediately to how we work with youth. You hit everything. Challenges us [00:05:00] motivating youth and young people for compliance with their court orders. So in the last year, the state of Washington did remove the ability to issue warrants unless youth are a threat to public safety.
Oh, wow. Now we’re our compliance consists really of trying to motivate youth on why they should change to benefit their future, which is what am I does. And so learning how to be creative finding a use, motivation has been, their underlying values has been just what we’ve been working on. And so having, having them understand how their future does rely on what they do now, school, where they’re living not committing more offenses or, you know, avoiding recidivism.
That’s really what we’re trying to focus on now. And so it’s quite a different. From where probation was 20 years ago and even 15, 10 years ago.[00:06:00]
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all the work that you’re doing then, because that is a huge shift in the way that we’re just being with people. It is. And are the staff here at juvenile court really work hard for that. So we focus a lot more on. Then we used to, so what is keeping a youth from being successful?
What do they need in the home? How can we support that? How do we support them in getting to school? And so that really is the position that we’re working from now, instead of you have all these rules to follow and you must follow them well, how do we help you follow through on this stuff and not have the violation?
Is it an alarm clock? Do we help them set up their phone? Do they need just bus passes to get to school? And then it’s supporting them through getting engaged with counseling or treatment and helping them make the phone calls or fill out paperwork. We often have probation counselors here that [00:07:00] will help fill out.
Packet to refer them to chemical dependency treatment. I’m not sure if anybody’s ever seen a packet like that, but they’re quite in depth or 20 to 30 pages. Yes, it’s, it’s a booklet that they’re doing. And some of the families have, it’s challenging to complete. So our probation counselors will step in and help them fill that out.
And so again, it’s really meeting the family and the youth where they’re at to help engage them and help them understand how this is going to benefit them. So working with teenagers, we have to have that. When we tell them what they’re going to do, it doesn’t work. And actually, I guess that’s what a lot of people, not just people it’s helping, having them come up with a case plan, what their goals are and helping them come up with the steps they need to do to meet those goals.
Well, and this is the thing you can see, like before we went on, you know, Jole kind of clarify it, that it’s not probation officers anymore, that it’s [00:08:00] it’s probation counselors, and you can see why that shift in language. So it’s not just a PR stunt. It literally is. It’s, it’s a significant shift in perception of role and.
And think about that. If it’s, if, if it’s changed as much in the last 10 to 15 years, you know, people are in this career for quite a while. Usually the, I mean, in my experience, what I’ve seen is people move from detention up into probation and it’s kind of the natural progression. It means you’ve been around the system for a long time, and this is just not culturally.
And historically how the juvenile system has worked. It really has been compliance driven. And when I, when I was like, looking at is in real time, is then the probation counselors or. In this catch 22, because you have parents calling saying, throw them in detention, like punish them. And so it’s almost like a surrogate, a surrogate mean parent like you’d be the mean parent and let us be the good parent.
And yeah, they were smoking weed and yeah, they didn’t go to school, but don’t tell them that I told you that. And it’s just like [00:09:00] very, very they ended up perpetuating a really unhealthy family system because the family co-ops them into an unhappy, healthy family system. And, and try to, to try to be empathetic and to be present and support the families and the youth and not get sucked into that dynamic is extremely complex, extremely complex, because it’s not a one con communication.
I mean, they’re on probation for, you know, eight months to 24 months or while, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a long, a long connection they have with these individuals. And how do you navigate that in a, in a proactive pro-social. Yeah, that that case you really lit up something for me. So Jolie, I don’t know if you want to jump in or, or Casey speak to this, but I’m really curious about this.
So I don’t know if we want to address this now or later, but this sense of acceptance and empathy and addressing barriers and recognizing them the behaviors, like you just said, Casey, that there might be [00:10:00] discrepancies going on. And I know we talked about. Trainings developing potential discrepancy and familiar with certain techniques there.
But I was just wondering the experience with that either for you know,Casey and with Jole, you experiencing that and how you. Use your Motivational Interviewing and these experiences say with the parents to not try to get them, you know, to change and use compliance, but to address discrepancy, it just seems like a very sensitive subject, especially during this time with COVID and everything.
So I think that could be a rich conversation. I don’t know what Jole, what I want to add to that question is. As a supervisor, how do you deal with it? With what you see the communication with parents or your experience with it. But then also when you’re trying to support your staff in this cultural shift from so compliance, driven to how do you support them with their own ambivalence and discrepancy between.
Officer mode and counselor mode. Like I’m just fascinated how you’ve navigated that. [00:11:00] Well, those are great questions. So I’ll start first with a parent. I use so much, am I with a parent that is the easiest situation to use. Am I with, and I. Out with high empathy by, by the time they’re calling me, they’re very frustrated.
They’ve been dealing with these behaviors for years. And so it is validating their concerns that they have their frustration and recognizing the fact that they’re calling and there’s so committed. To the behaviors and the relationship with the child because they do care. And so it’s recognizing that and acknowledging that strength that they have as a parent, because they care so much.
So, you know, there are times I’ll listen to a half hour up to an hour for a parent just recognizing all of that. And by the end they have. Shared so much that they do feel relief just on the talking. So it’s not even really needing to have an action afterwards. [00:12:00] And so I encourage my staff to interact with the parents the same way, and it’s reminding them that a lot of the times the parent just doesn’t need a sounding board.
And when they are asking for confinement time, so our population in detention has changed significantly. With these legislative changes. And so realistically, when you see an act by a juvenile on the news, the shootings you know, the, the murders, those are the youth that we have in custody now.
And those are the youth that are with us longterm. And so when we have a theft third degree or a malicious mischief, it’s. Easier now to explain to a parent, if your child is in detention with us, these are the types of behavior they’re exposed to and getting their buy-in that this isn’t the best place for somebody that is.
Committing misdemeanors or running away. We don’t want to have them [00:13:00] exposed to youth who have much more serious histories. So that, that helps alleviate. When we explain that level to the parents they have a much better understanding of what we’re considering when we’re working with. One of the other things John, that you touched on was the R Casey, the long-term connection that we have with these youth.
So most of our units, when you’re assigned a young person, a client, if they’re 11, 12, or 13, You are going to have them for the rest of the time that they’re involved in our court. So if they continue to have offenses or even if they come back five years later, you need to have that relationship with the family because you don’t want to alienate anybody.
And you’re going to keep working with them. If they have. And if they have siblings, you’ll have that one too. So it really is how are we establishing those relationships? And, and making them be successful even if we’re not in agreement. So again, it’s [00:14:00] using the What’s important to them and connecting it to what we need to do to have at least a better outcome than if we’re not communicating at all and not giving that support to the family.
You know, I, I think the thing that’s so helpful, like just knowing that John and Tammy are more naive on this, it, when you see the shift in culture for this, what probation was seen as by the public more. Ironically was okay. Spank them harder you know, spank them harder and then they’re going to behave.
And I think public perception is if you spank people harder, that, that that’s gonna, that that’s going to change something. What I’ve seen. And just my involvement with law enforcement, law and involvement with the court system, they really have had to evaluate data and the data shows that that’s just not a.
Like you can spank them as hard as you want to, and it doesn’t reduce recidivism. And in some [00:15:00] cases it actually increases recidivism rates, the harder you spank them. So then you justify that by saying, well, they’re irreparable, so let’s just lock them away. And instead of seeing that as a social or a system problem that was always seen as an individual, they’re just a broken individual.
I think that there’s a political kind of pendulum swings, but the thing is no matter where the pendulum swings politically is, they can’t escape the data. And the data has been coming out for so many decades. Now that no matter what they’ve tried, that doesn’t work, spanking them harder. And I, and I think there’s a shift in public perception because parents still want the child to be spanked harder by put in detention for longer periods of time.
And. And it’s hard for the workforce within the justice system to make that mental shift, because it’s been such a punitive process by definition, it’s been that way. So it’s taken a a mental and a cultural shift from leadership that had to believe in these things that they’re pushing [00:16:00] down to the PCs.
Like we have to believe this because we can’t just keep pushing more training because I remember the days five or six years ago where it was just training, training, training, training, training. And make sure they’re compliant, compliant, compliant, compliant, compliant, and the PCs are just like, their eyes are popping out of the head because it’s like, you want us to be more compliant and you’re putting us in training every single day and this still is not working.
And so it’s just been within, at least my experience in last five years that I’ve seen the system make these motor comes of shift in their own thinking that, oh my gosh, we really do need to think about behavior change differently. And oh, that’s why we’re doing all this training. And, and now the PCs are showing up going, oh, we need this training because we don’t have as many of these other tools.
Oh, maybe the system is serious that we are trying to reduce recidivism. We are trying to engage people in reintegrating, into the community, serve families in a healthy way and building those supports in there. I just cannot, from an outsider perspective, I cannot not articulate how [00:17:00] monumental of a shift that’s been in the last yeah.
From what I’ve seen at least like the last seven to eight years, but profoundly in the last three years, probably or four years, but Jole would know better, but just as an outsider, well, I w I was gonna, so ask a more pointed question along what you’re saying. Casey is Jole. What, what are the outcomes that you’ve seen in either the last few years, or as things have changed over the last 10 years of how thing, how you’re doing things differently.
Some of it has been based on motivational interviewing, what are the outcomes as you’re starting to see those changes. Outcomes are hard to address right now because of just the impact from COVID. You know, our numbers shifted drastically just from COVID in detention and on supervision. Our court system looks different when we still haven’t shifted back and they’ve had legends.
Slate of changes, not only for us, but law enforcement. So those are all things that are impacting right now. Prior to [00:18:00] COVID I think that we really did have a downshift in warrant. Being issued. So there hadn’t been any legislative changes, but just in our our processes internally was not relying upon warrants to help us engage you.
It really was the difference in how we’re interacting with them and having our staff come from a position of increasing the communication relations. Relationship with youth versus just the compliance. And so we did have that shift prior to COVID and probation violations. Decreased along with the warrants.
Again, it’s looking at what’s important to the youth and how do we get that part of engagement from them having the buy-in when we’re working towards how to be successful on probation. So I don’t have the hard data on it other while I do, but. But just knowing those numbers has been hugely beneficial to our [00:19:00] clients that we’re working with.