Three Reasons Reentry Programming for Juveniles Matters

Monday, April 19, 2021 - 12:42pm

The North Carolina Juvenile Justice section is committed to the reduction and prevention of juvenile delinquency through intervening, educating and treating youth to strengthen families and increase public safety.

The commitment to this mission can be seen in the individualized case management delivered by its court counselors and the wide array of programming provided under Community Programs to prevent a juvenile’s entry or further penetration into the juvenile justice system. In 2020, on any given day an average of 151 juveniles could be found in a youth development center and an average of 194 juveniles were found in a juvenile detention center. These secure facilities focus on the fostering of healthy decision-making and personal responsibility by juveniles.

This scenario is not unique to North Carolina. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2013 an estimated 60,000 juveniles nationwide could be found in youth detention and correctional facilities on any given day. This astonishing number led Congress to pass the Second Chance Act, which authorized federal grants to fund programs focused on the reintegration of juveniles into their communities. Over the past five years or so, the federal government has awarded Second Chance Act grants to North Carolina Juvenile Justice for its unique juvenile reentry work.

It is important to note that Juvenile Justice’s goal is that every juvenile placed in a secure facility return to their community. On average, these juveniles are away from their home communities for 14 months during their commitment to a North Carolina youth development center. During that time away, many of their peers may have experienced such milestones as entering high school, learning to drive, applying to college, attending school dances, family gatherings and holidays. The world moved forward and juveniles returning to the community may struggle without the proper planning and support.

Juvenile reentry programming matters for three big reasons:

  1. Advocacy. It is important that every individual can identify their own goals and ambitions and communicate them. With effective reentry programming, a juvenile’s plans are individualized with personalized steps to achieve their identified goals. 
  2. Outcomes. Reentry programming focuses on building on a juvenile’s strengths and creating a welcoming, supportive home community, both of which can lead to long-term individual success.   
  3. Public Safety. Supportive, engaging and individually focused reentry programming can decrease the likelihood of a juvenile heading back into the system and reduce ongoing criminal behavior which, in turn, can lead to healthier and happier communities. 

 

Author: 
Brittany Schott, Community Programs Contract Administrator