On any given day, there are more than 43,500 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 their return.
Successful reentry reduces recidivism and increases public safety. The Second Chance Act authorizes federal grants for reentry services – such as employment and housing assistance, substance use treatment, family programming, and mentoring – that address common barriers to successful reentry.
OJJDP’s Second Chance Act programs provide specialized services to youth 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.
Second Chance Act: Youth Offender Reentry Program
Through this program, OJJDP funds educational, vocational, and job placement services for youth while in confinement and following their release. The 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
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 fiscal years 2017 and 2019, OJJDP awarded nearly $35 million to improve outcomes for youth who are transitioning back to their communities following out-of-home placement.
- Fiscal Year 2019 - $11.2 million
- Fiscal Year 2018 - $13.1 million
- Fiscal Year 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 so youth can pursue higher education, and provides youth who need it with access to 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: Juvenile Reentry fact sheet
- Model Programs Guide: Implementation Guide: Juvenile Reentry Programs
- Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Juvenile Reentry
- OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book: Juvenile Reentry & Aftercare
- Reentry Starts Here: A Guide for Youth in Long-Term Juvenile Corrections or Treatment Programs