Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $766,942)
Straight Ahead Ministries, Inc.'s Massachusetts Youth Reentry Project (MYRP) aims to reduce recidivism by young people under legal supervision and improve public safety. This project is a collaboration with the Massachusetts Department Youth Services (DYS), local government, and other community organizations to address barriers to reentry and minimize recidivism among moderate to high-risk youth who are returning to their communities following confinement. The MYRP will focus reentry services on the Central, Northeastern, and Southeastern regions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which serve many of the states’ high-risk youth, many of whom identify as minorities, are gang affiliated, did not complete high school, have substance use issues, have experienced homelessness, identify as LGBTQ+, have suffered signiﬁcant trauma, abuse, neglect, emotional impairment, and/or have learning disabilities. All program youth live in impoverished conditions and face signiﬁcant obstacles to successful reentry. MYRP will work with these justice-involved youth in DYS custody pre- and post-release from residential treatment facilities. Program offerings, informed by evidence-based practices, include mentoring, work readiness and job acquisition, education, character development, and gang intervention. Expected program outcomes include: reduced recidivism; expanded social capital, and strengthened relationships between justice-involved youth, their families, and community mentors; improved employment and educational outcomes leading to pathways out of poverty; improved community safety; and reductions in victimization and reoffending. Straight Ahead Ministries, Inc. will also participate in a DYS re-entry task force as a primary re-entry partner.