By Caren Harp, Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention works to help youth who are reentering their communities after confinement to become law-abiding, contributing members of society.
In 2016, there were more than 45,000 juveniles in residential placement facilities on any given day, according to OJJDP's latest data. When these young people will eventually be released back into their communities, they are more likely to succeed—and less likely to return to delinquent behavior—if they have access to services that can help them navigate that transition.
Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order creating the Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry—and proclaimed April 2018 as Second Chance Month—to emphasize the importance of breaking the cycle of crime and recidivism. OJJDP collaborates with this Council, which is chaired by the Department of Justice and includes several other government agencies, to prevent and control crime and improve reentry strategies nationwide.
In line with these efforts, OJJDP offers practical resources and funds research and programs to support reentering youth. Our work furthers the Administration's goals to prioritize public safety, reduce recidivism, and provide greater opportunities for young offenders who have paid their debt to society.
OJJDP recently released Reentry Starts Here: A Guide for Youth in Long-Term Juvenile Corrections and Treatment Programs. The guide serves as a toolkit for youth in placement as they prepare to reenter their communities. It provides resources to help youth set and attain their goals, whether that's returning to school, applying for housing, getting a job, or seeking support services. The guide also provides practical steps youth can take to overcome barriers commonly experienced upon reentry.
The field's response to the guide has been extraordinary. Demand has been so great, the guide is already in its second printing.
Good policy starts with a good plan. In fiscal year 2017, OJJDP awarded $3.5 million in Second Chance Act funding to support the implementation of state and local reentry plans. These plans focus on efforts proven by research to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for juvenile offenders. An additional $6 million in this Second Chance Act funding supported programs that improve the parenting skills of young incarcerated fathers and mothers.
Our work is continuing and expanding in fiscal year 2018. OJJDP is supporting juvenile reentry programs, training and technical assistance, and research with nearly $6 million in Second Chance Act funding. And we are again supporting programs that strengthen relationships between young incarcerated parents and their children, with more than $7 million in grant funding.
The more we know about reentry, the more we can do to help. In fiscal year 2018, OJJDP is funding improvements to the data collection, analysis, and reporting capacities of state and local agencies, which will allow us to determine what works—and why—and to replicate effective reentry programs. We're also funding studies on specific elements of programs that work. We want to promote methods that get results.
Reentry is important work. OJJDP is committed to supporting programs that provide young offenders with second chances. Helping young people turn their lives around ultimately helps us build safer communities.
To learn more about OJJDP's reentry work, visit our website at OJJDP.gov.