Hello. I am Liz Ryan, the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, or OJJDP.
America is a nation built on the idea of second chances and fresh starts. As we celebrate Second Chance Month this April, OJJDP is committed to ensuring that youth involved in the justice system have the same access to opportunities as their peers who are not in the system. In fact, opening up opportunities for system-involved youth is one of our top priorities.
Between 2020 and 2022, OJJDP provided nearly $44 million in funding to support Second Chance Act programming, including $23.6 million for communities to strengthen effective youth reentry programs. By focusing on reentry, we can help reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
Involvement in the juvenile justice system touches every aspect of a young person’s life. It can lead to significant collateral consequences—including difficulty obtaining housing, education, and employment.
That is why OJJDP’s Second Chance funding supports educational and vocational opportunities, employment and housing assistance, and mental and physical healthcare. We want to provide targeted assistance for young people as they take the first step toward a brighter future.
In addition to our youth reentry work, OJJDP also strives to address the needs of incarcerated parents and their minor children. We fund an initiative aimed at maintaining and strengthening connections between parents and children—so that family bonds aren’t severed when a parent goes to prison.
Throughout Second Chance Month, OJJDP will partner with other federal agencies and youth justice leaders to highlight the significant needs of youth reentering their communities and provide resources to help them succeed. For instance, every Tuesday during the month of April, OJJDP will host webinars, youth-led podcasts, and panel discussions in collaboration with our sister agency, the Bureau of Justice Assistance. These events will share promising practices for engaging youth and creating positive experiences for connection. Visit our website at OJJDP.ojp.gov to learn more about Second Chance Month activities and funding opportunities.
We invite you all to join us as we commemorate this month for Second Chances. For many youth, a second chance may well be their first real opportunity to flourish. Every youth deserves that opportunity. Thank you.