Restraint - Juvenile Justice Facilities

Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice Refers to Restraints as Protective Action Response (PAR).

In Florida, an individual who is court ordered to a juvenile justice facility can only be restrained to control behaviors that create an emergency or crisis situation. Protection Action Response (PAR) means “The department-approved verbal and physical intervention techniques and the application of mechanical restraints used in accordance with Florida Administrative Code. Any form of physical restraint requires that staff obtain prior authorization for the use of intervention techniques and mechanical restraints from a supervisor or acting supervisor unless doing so could result in physical harm to the youth, employee or another person, property damage, or of the youth escaping or absconding from lawful supervision. PAR has three levels of response:

  • Level 1 - Verbal intervention.
  • Level 2 - Physical intervention techniques may encompass the use of touch, countermoves, control techniques or take down.
  • Level 3 - Mechanical restraint.

It’s important to remember that every effort should be made by staff to avoid unnecessary use of PAR, and therefore staff should try to redirect and diffuse problem behavior before it reaches crisis proportions.

Each facility or provider has developed its own policies and procedures related to the use of PAR. If you want to know what they are, ask the facility administration for a copy.

PAR Process

Requirements for Use of Protective Action Response (PAR)

Each Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facility or provider must have policies and procedures related to the use of PAR that follows the standards outlined in the Florida Administrative Code. Each provider will have an approved list of holds or techniques they can use called a “Matrix”. This Matrix is the authorized list of holds the DJJ facility or provider can use on a youth. 

Staff Requirements for Use of PAR

PAR can only be used by an authorized staff that is certified in PAR and has passed the state performance test. Staff must be trained in using an emergency procedure curriculum that has been approved by DJJ.

Use of the PAR for Assessing Appropriate Intervention Techniques

DJJ facility staff or provider use the PAR Escalation Matrix for guidance in selecting the level of technique they can use based upon the youth’s level of resistance. Then staff begins by using verbal interventions listed below:

  • Level 1 - Verbal intervention shall be utilized in response to all levels of resistance by youth. Verbal intervention techniques shall be the initial response by an employee to resistance by a youth except where physical interventions are necessary to prevent physical harm to the youth, employee or another person, property damage, or of the youth escaping or absconding from lawful supervision.
  • Level 2 - Verbal attempts to diffuse a youth or situation have been exhausted, and the youth has initiated active, combative, or aggravated resistance. There will be no physical intervention for passive resistance without a clear and identifiable risk to safety and security. Physical intervention techniques may encompass the use of touch, countermoves, control techniques or take down as described in the Florida Administrative Code
  • Level 3 - Mechanical restraint. The use of mechanical restraints is authorized in situations where a youth has initiated active, combative or aggravated resistance and in situations where the youth poses a physical threat to self or others.

Staff will provide complete documentation of the event including medical status, incident report, matrix of events, and staff notes. The Program Director or their designee will review the documentation for accuracy procedure compliance.