On any given day, there are more than 37,529 juvenile offenders in residential placement in this country. Most of these youth will eventually return home, and need assistance to do so successfully. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) reentry programs help ensure that youth have the tools to become productive, law-abiding members of society upon returning to their communities.
Successful reentry reduces recidivism and increases public safety. The Second Chance Act authorizes federal grants for reentry services – such as employment and housing assistance, education, substance abuse treatment, family therapy, record sealing and expungement, and mentoring – that address common barriers to successful reentry.
Second Chance Month
Every April, OJJDP observes Second Chance Month in support of youth's successful reentry back into their communities. Read the presidential proclamation for Second Chance Month.
OJJDP's Second Chance Act programs provide specialized services to youth released from residential placement and promote family engagement between incarcerated parents and their children when it is in the best interest of the child. The programs are part of the Office's comprehensive approach to enhance public safety, hold youth accountable when they offend, and empower all youth to live up to their full potential.
Programs & Funding
In fiscal year (FY) 2020, OJJDP awarded more than $11.2 million in Second Chance Awards to help implement and sustain effective reentry programs:
- Second Chance Act: Youth Offender Reentry Program | FY 2020 Award: $1,500,000
Through this program, OJJDP funds educational, vocational, and job placement services for youth while in confinement and following their release. Youth also receive substance abuse treatment, assistance locating housing, and help arranging mental and physical healthcare.
- Second Chance Act: Addressing the Needs of Incarcerated Parents and Their Minor Children | FY 2020 Award: $9,717,584
OJJDP supports programs in correctional facilities that encourage family engagement between incarcerated parents and their minor children. The grants also fund reentry services for parents and programs that support positive youth development in children of incarcerated parents.
Between FY 2017 and FY 2020, OJJDP awarded more than $46 million to improve outcomes for youth who are transitioning back to their communities following residential placement.
- Fiscal Year 2020 - $11.2 million
- FY 2019 - $11.2 million
- FY 2018 - $13.1 million
- FY 2017 - $10.6 million
From the Field
The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice is transforming its reentry programming with help from an OJJDP grant.
The department has partnered with community colleges to assist youth with pursuing higher education, and accessing transitional housing upon release. Staff are also coordinating family engagement activities and free transportation for families to visit youth as a way to increase family involvement in the reentry process.
An increased focus on staff training and support is beginning to reap results. "It's important to change the culture," says Ashaki McNeil, director of the department's Reentry Unit. "If you treat the staff right, they treat the kids right."
- In Focus Fact Sheet: Juvenile Reentry
- Expunging Juvenile Records: Misconceptions, Collateral Consequences, and Emerging Practices
- Model Programs Guide: Implementation Guide: Juvenile Reentry Programs
- Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Juvenile Reentry
- OJJDP 2020 Annual Report
- OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book: Juvenile Reentry & Aftercare
- Reentry Starts Here: A Guide for Youth in Long-Term Juvenile Corrections or Treatment Programs