Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $183,413)
The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) provides a comprehensive response to the increasing number of people who are released from prison, jail, and juvenile residential facilities and returning to communities. There are currently over 2.3 million individuals serving time in our federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycling through local jails every year. There are approximately 94,000 youth in residential confinement within the juvenile justice system on any given day. Ninety-five percent of all offenders incarcerated today will eventually be released and will return to communities. The Second Chance Act will help ensure the transition individuals make from prison, jail, or juvenile residential facilities to the community is safe and successful.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) will support a pilot project to address a significant gap in their current re-entry system. The pilot project will introduce a therapeutic component to re-entry services for the target population of juvenile females who are returning to communities from delinquency placements where they received treatment for symptoms related to past or ongoing trauma. Girls with these complex mental health issues need this treatment to be transitioned seamlessly to the home community in order to decrease the likelihood that behavior associated with these traumatic experiences manifests as delinquent. PCCD will work with a core group of southeastern counties and residential providers that make up the largest segment of girls in placement to make community-based therapists available to youth while in placement and upon ischarge. These therapists will regularly visit and participate in institution based therapy so as to establish a strong therapeutic bond that will translate to the community and the provision of continued therapy. It is critical that this service be provided as most times these youth are returning to the environment where the traumatic experience took place and will need this resource in order to manage the barriers that will be present. PCCD will invoke a therapeutic model that addresses the needs of the youth across the various aspects of their support network to include family, school, probation and community. With this service in place, PCCD believes that the unhealthy coping mechanisms used previously will be replaced with newly learned pro-social strategies.