The concept of offender "reentry" is beginning to take the corrections world by storm -- a much overdue storm. Reentry is the process of prisoners reentering society after a period of incarceration in a prison, jail, or detention facility. But it doesn't signify just "letting them go." It connotes that offenders are "prepared" to be released. It means that they are much better off at the time of release than at the time of their admission. (Anderson, S)
It suggests that their period of community supervision will contribute to their crime-free lifestyle. An estimated 100,000 youth are released from secure and residential facilities every year and because the length of incarceration for juveniles is shorter than for adults, a relatively greater percentage of juveniles return to the community each year. In addition, research indicates that a small percentage of juvenile offenders commit the overwhelming majority of juvenile crime.
The program purpose is to provide intensive treatment to rehabilitate those juveniles who need more attention than simple probation provides, but who do not need the structured environment of a training school or detention center. The community-based program seeks to provide education and treatment to heal the juveniles and allow the juveniles' families to work through family issues.
Groups Targeted by Program: Juvenile offenders, age 10 to 17, from first-time offenders through serious, chronic, and violent offenders.
The Reentry Initiative envisions the development of model reentry programs that begin in correctional institutions and continue throughout an offender's transition to and stabilization in the community. These programs will provide for individual reentry plans that address issues confronting offenders as they return to the community. The Initiative will encompass three phases and be implemented through appropriate programs:
Phase 1 -- Protect and Prepare: Institution-Based Programs. These programs are designed to prepare offenders to reenter society. Services provided in this phase will include education, mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training, mentoring, and full diagnostic and risk assessment.
Phase 2 -- Control and Restore: Community-Based Transition Programs. These programs will work with offenders prior to and immediately following their release from correctional institutions. Services provided in this phase will include, as appropriate, education, monitoring, mentoring, life skills training, assessment, job skills development, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Phase 3 -- Sustain and Support: Community-Based Long-Term Support Programs. These programs will connect individuals who have left the supervision of the justice system with a network of social services agencies and community-based organizations to provide ongoing services and mentoring relationships.
Examples of potential program elements include institution-based readiness programs, institutional and community assessment centers, reentry courts, supervised or electronically monitored boarding houses, mentoring programs, and community corrections centers.
The program provides a service to reduce placements for the Juvenile Court and Children and Youth Services through cost-effective intervention for those youth who are considered by the agencies to be "at risk" in the community. The program also provides aftercare for those youth who are removed from costly institutional placements and returned to their homes and community. Aftercare minimizes reentry problems for youths who are attempting to readjust to home life when returning from institutional life.(Kurki, L)
The Intake criteria would include
Receiving a written referral from an agency;
Receiving supporting data from a referral agency;
Conducting an initial interview of the juvenile to determine whether he or she is appropriate for the program and whether the juvenile is to be admitted into the program;
Administering psychological tests, if necessary;
Holding a treatment planning meeting by the professional treatment team, including setting short-term treatment goals, interventions, and evaluation procedures, and establishing a weekly activities schedule; and Administering additional psychological tests, if needed.
Juveniles are referred through the courts, probation offices, children and youth services, schools, prisons, churches, hospitals, and businesses, or they may be referred by their family or self-referred. The average stay of a juvenile is 6 months.The Location could be the Miami-Dade County. There are 2 kinds of groups, which can work with the program
By using a church-related and community-based social services agency. Before bringing a victim and offender together, a mediator meets separately with each party and listens to his or her story. The mediator explains the mediation process and invites both parties to participate in the mediation process. During the mediation session, the victim and offender discuss the crime and its impact on their lives and devise a plan for the offender to make amends.
By using a Neighborhood Citizens Committee The community volunteers on this committee are dedicated to helping youth who have committed minor offenses. Volunteers listen to the youth and his or her family, give attention to the juvenile as an individual, and supervise community service that emphasizes responsibility, contributes to society, and helps the youth develop an awareness of the community through exposure to new people, places, and events
Because the average stay of a juvenile is six months, the centers would need to have a maximum annual capacity of 130 juveniles. Juveniles are referred through the courts, probation offices, children and youth services, schools, prisons, churches, hospitals, and businesses, or they may be referred by their family or self-referred. A total of 60 full-time and 11 part-time employees would be needed.(Piehl, A.)
The total annual operating budget of the Program Center would be approximately $1,000,000. The counties where the center is located normally fund the entire budget. The per diem rate per offender for current programs is $47. Additionally, the program is partially reimbursed from the state for the services it provides, as seen in operational centers.
Prior to operating, the center would have to obtain the following Department of Public Welfare licenses: a day treatment license, an administrative license, a foster care license, and a drug and alcohol program license. Additionally, prior to starting the program, it would have to comply with the incorporation requirements and select a board of directors.(Andrews, D., & Bonta, J)
The most important factors in the success of the program would be three elements, which are intensive daily contact, the behavior management model, and the family-healing model.
Next, approaching each juvenile with an individual treatment plan would allow the staff to manage the behaviors of each juvenile. The juvenile's needs should be assessed initially and again every three months. The continuous examination of the changing needs of the juvenile allows the staff to craft a treatment plan that will be most effective. (Wilkinson, R)
Evaluating outcomes is critical to knowing "what works" in determining whether a program is successful. Yet few programs for juvenile offenders provide outcome evaluations. The reasons for this range from lack of funding and resources to lack of time and expertise. Moreover, even among programs that are evaluated, most rely upon nonexperimental methods. Further complicating the situation is the disparity in consensus on such key points as definitions for recidivism, common instruments for testing, and length of tracking periods. A standard evaluation tool that measures effectiveness, efficiency, and program outcomes does not exist. Accurate methods of evaluating local programs and comparing them with programs nationwide are not available.
Currently, the state of Florida provides basic outcome information on all residential treatment programs that serve juvenile offenders Florida is currently expanding its information system to include the collection and reporting of outcome evaluation information on community-based programs serving juvenile offenders. While states with system-wide tracking may be increasing their data collection to include tracking juveniles after release, others are still figuring out how to capture more than just participant completion numbers
The information provided by a standard evaluation tool will be useful to a multitude of players in the juvenile justice system at the local, state, and federal levels. The tool will make it easier to evaluate local programs and compare them with programs nationwide. It will provide reliable information for program and correctional system development and foster responsible funding decisions. Information needed to establish accountability for both programs and the correctional system will be easily obtained. As an added benefit, the results of this initial project can potentially lead to a decrease in the need to federally fund a multitude of individual non-experimental evaluation projects. (Wilson, D., Gallagher, C., & MacKenzie, D)
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