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Experiences with Incorporating Culture into Tribal Green Reentry Programs: From the Cross-Site Evaluation of OJJDP's Tribal Green Reentry Program

NCJ Number
248586
Date Published
Author(s)
RTI International and American Indian Development Associates
Annotation
This brief discusses the cross-site efforts within the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Green Reentry Program, and strategies that each grantee is using to infuse culture into their efforts.
Abstract
While the structure of each Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Green Reentry Program differs, there are some common programmatic aspects regarding the use of tribal culture through activities, education, ceremonies, and other strategies. In particular, the programs engage tribal elders and their perspectives in the process as they are considered the most knowledgeable and experienced people in their communities. All three programs evaluated included a number of cultural activities delivered using cultural methods, approaches, and practices. A key challenge was engaging the community, especially elders, who are considered the “keepers of tribal wisdom and knowledge,” to become more involved in the Green Reentry Program. The elder focus group indicated a strong willingness to become engaged and a sense of responsibility for teaching youth what they know. Youth and parents also expressed a desire to learn from elders. What seemed to be missing most was the opportunity for engagement—an issue that staff addressed with help from other program partners. Another program challenge at all three sites was the lack of program plans and guidelines for incorporating cultural components. As a demonstration project, this is an important lesson learned. Clear descriptions of program features and expectations will help the programs identify the cultural elements most responsible for changes in a youth’s life. With help from local cultural experts, each program can identify the cultural performance measures and types of program data to collect. The evaluation will continue to gather information about program efforts toward cultural program planning, the cultural activities, the methods and practices being used, the lessons learned, and the impact of cultural programming with youth in the Green Reentry Program at each site.
Date Created: January 18, 2015