Issues in the Seclusion and Restraint of Juveniles: Policy, Practice and Possibilities

  • Rodney A. Ellis
  • Anne L. Pruett
  • Karen M. Sowers
Keywords: Seclusion, Restraint, Juveniles, Residential treatment, Delinquency


The appropriate use of seclusion and restraint (S/R) is an important issue among juvenile justice professionals. Recent newspaper articles have brought the issue to the attention of the United States Senate, law enforcement agencies, and the general public. The result has been a series of investigations and publications by the Senate, law enforcement, and professional associations. Despite the attention this issue has received, professionals have yet to reach a definitive agreement as to what recent legislation and the professional and popular literature regarding the use of S/R. They identify major issues currently under discussion, highlight areas of consensus, and enumerate several dimensions that require further exploration. Finally, the authors discuss the implications of S/R for social work practitioners, including the importance of education and training, monitoring, hiring, policy advocacy, and ongoin research.