Linn County Juvenile Detention & Diversion Services has received a $5350 grant from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation to develop its trauma-informed (T-I) yoga program. As a result, the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center (LCJDC) will offer additional T-I yoga programming to incarcerated youth and train all staff in principles of T-I yoga in 2016.
“By integrating trauma-informed yoga into the detention programming, we believe there will be an improvement in emotional regulation, youth will have another tool to help control aggressive behaviors and ultimately this will reduce the need for physical interventions,” said Dawn Schott, Director of Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services.
Since January 2015, most youth at LCJDC have participated in weekly T-I yoga classes. T-I yoga allows individuals who have struggled with anxiety disorders, psychological disorders or past traumas to practice yoga safely with a teacher who understands such students’ sensitivity and can facilitate their unique needs. This grant will allow LCJDC to create more opportunities for youth to learn and apply principles of yoga, both through a paid yoga teacher and through in-service and external training for corrections staff.
The T-I yoga program aims to strengthen incarcerated youth’s healthy coping skills and capacity to regulate their own emotions, with long-term aims to prevent re-offense. These aims support the department’s goals of rehabilitation and successful community reentry for all youth offenders.
The Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process, in which community members consider factors such as program reach and sustainability. Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services received the award through the Foundation’s Program Grant Fund, which supports “new, innovative programs […] and/or ongoing programs that impact the quality of life in Linn County, Iowa.”
Research shows yoga, mindfulness, regulated breathing and relaxation practices can decrease stress levels and enhance emotional regulation skills. Scientists cite a physiological effect called the “relaxation response,” which calms the practitioner. Studies show self-reported decreases in perceived stress levels and increases in healthy self-regulation after yoga, in addition to reduced rates of recidivism.
About Linn County Juvenile Detention
Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services is a division of the Linn County Community Services Department, whose mission is to provide secure temporary residential care for youth, ages 12 to 18 years, who are or are alleged to be delinquent and pose a threat to themselves or to the community. The Juvenile Detention Center provides services to over 350 youth annually.