U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

OJJDP News @ a Glance

This issue highlights program site visits by OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan, virtual reality tools connecting incarcerated parents with their kids, OJJDP’s support of programs designed for girls, and one young person’s plans to reach the White House.
Message From the Administrator: Justice-Involved Youth Face Unexpected, Damaging Outcomes
OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan - News @ a Glance

Message From the Administrator: Justice-Involved Youth Face Unexpected, Damaging Outcomes

Hello. I am Liz Ryan, the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is better known as OJJDP.

Today, I want to focus on gun violence – particularly gun violence among youth after leaving the juvenile justice system. After being released from secure detention, youth face numerous challenges, but one of the most alarming—and dangerous—is gun violence.

Recent research shows that detained youth are more likely to be killed or injured by a firearm when they leave detention.

According to a report published by JAMA Network, youth who had been detained were up to 23 times more likely to die by firearm when compared to youth from the general population. Further, more than one-fourth of Black and Hispanic males were injured or killed by a firearm within 16 years of entering the juvenile justice system.

These results are from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a 25-year study that OJJDP helped to fund. The study has been following more than 1,800 youth since 1995. As of 2020, 4.8 percent of the study participants had been killed by a firearm. These deaths didn’t have to happen.

Half of the female youth in the study and nearly three-quarters of the male youth reported having “easy access to firearms.” One-fourth of the male youth, and 1 in 8 females, said they belonged to gangs that carried firearms.

These findings demonstrate that formerly detained youth need comprehensive support following release. Professionals, educators, and researchers must work together to address the risks and realities in the communities that these young people call home.

OJJDP is committed to helping young people successfully reenter their communities after system involvement. In 2022, our Office awarded approximately $12 million under the Second Chance Act Youth Reentry Program.

This program provides targeted services to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes among youth leaving confinement. We want to close the revolving door that has young people returning to secure facilities and open up opportunities for them in the communities where they live. These efforts to help young people desist from crime will also improve public safety.

To further enhance public safety, and directly combat gang violence, OJJDP’s National Gang Center works with practitioners to help youth avoid gang involvement—or, if they are already in a gang—to get out and stay out. The Center disseminates essential knowledge and evidence-based practices to local communities.

In these and all of our programs, OJJDP is working to ensure young people who leave the system have the support they need to succeed. We can—and we must—help youth find positive paths forward, all while making communities safer.

Thank you.

Date Created: June 21, 2023