July National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter

National Reentry Resource Center Releases FAQs on Juvenile Justice & Reentry

As many as 100,000 youth under the age of 18 are released from juvenile correctional facilities every year. These young people often return to their communities with complex needs, such as physical and behavioral health issues and barriers to education and employment.

The National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) recently published a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers on juvenile justice and reentry. To view the NRRC’s juvenile justice FAQ, click here.

The FAQ provides information on

  • the organization of the juvenile justice system and its impact on reentry;
  • the characteristics of youth committed to out-of-home placement;
  • the challenges many youth face as they return from placement;
  • and the policies and practices that are key to successful reentry.

The FAQ is the most recent juvenile reentry resource released by the NRRC and its Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, which is one of nine advisory committees that help guide the NRRC’s efforts to improve public safety and outcomes for returning individuals. Since 2009, the NRRC’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee has focused on five key areas emerging in youth reentry policy and practice:

  • Integrating the science of adolescent brain development into the design of reentry initiatives
  • Ensuring that reentry initiatives build on youths’ strengths and assets to promote pro-social development
  • Engaging families and community members in a meaningful manner throughout the reentry process
  • Prioritizing education and employment as essential elements of a reentry plan
  • Providing a stable, well-supported transition to adulthood that helps to create lifelong connections

To learn more about each of these five areas, and access resources related to each, click here.

The FAQ is the fifth in a series of FAQs released by the NRRC on a variety of topics related to adult and juvenile reentry; others look at reentry and behavioral health, housing, education and employment, and victims issues. To view the full FAQ series, click here.

CSG Justice Center Releases New Report on How School Discipline Relates to Academic and Juvenile Justice Outcomes

In an unprecedented study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students followed for more than six years, nearly 60 percent were suspended or expelled, according to a report released last week by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement features this and other key findings:

  • Of the nearly 1 million public secondary school students studied, about 15 percent were suspended or expelled 11 times or more; nearly half of these students with 11 or more disciplinary actions were involved in the juvenile justice system.
  • Only three percent of the disciplinary actions were for conduct in which state law mandated suspensions and expulsions; the rest were made at the discretion of school officials primarily in response to violations of local schools’ conduct codes.
  • African-American students and those with particular educational disabilities were disproportionately disciplined for discretionary actions.
  • Repeated suspensions and expulsions predicted poor academic outcomes. Only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study period, and 31 percent of students disciplined one or more times repeated their grade at least once.
  • Schools that had similar characteristics, including the racial composition and economic status of the student body, varied greatly in how frequently they suspended or expelled students.

To download Breaking Schools' Rules, click here.

CSG Justice Center Releases New Brief on Enrolling People with SMI in Federal Benefits

For people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) leaving jail and prison, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI) benefits can help ensure access to health care, housing, and other essential supports in the critical period immediately following release. The 2009 passage of healthcare reform legislation expands eligibility for Medicaid, making access to benefits even more important in the transition-to-community process. However, as many practitioners who work with these individuals know, benefits enrollment can be a complex and confusing process.

To learn more about this new resource, click here.

Urban Institute Report Looks at the Role of Judges in Client Success in Drug Courts

The most extensive study of drug courts to date—a five-year examination of 23 courts and six comparison jurisdictions in eight states—found that these court programs can significantly decrease drug use and criminal behavior. Furthermore, positive outcomes increased when participants sensed their judge treated them more fairly, showed greater respect and interest in them, and gave them more chances to talk during courtroom proceedings.

"Judges are central to the goals of reducing crime and substance use. Judges who spend time with participants, support them, and treat them with respect are the ones who get results," said the Urban Institute Senior Fellow Shelli Rossman. Ms. Rossman led the research team, which brought together experts from the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center, the Center for Court Innovation, and RTI International.

Drug court participants who had more status hearings with and received more praise from their judge later reported committing fewer crimes and using drugs less often than those who had less contact and praise. Court programs in which judges exhibited the greatest degree of respectfulness, fairness, enthusiasm, and knowledge of each individual's case prevented more crimes and days of drug use than other courts.

While drug court costs are higher than business-as-usual case processing, this report suggests that they save money by significantly reducing the number of crimes, re-arrests, and days incarcerated. Drug courts save an average of $5,680 per participant, returning a net benefit of $2 for every $1 spent.

To learn more about this evaluation, click here.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Convenes to Review How Arrest and Conviction Records Act as Barriers to Employment

On Tuesday, July 26th the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) convened a meeting to examine the implications of various hiring practices for people with criminal records. Members of the federal commission met to identify and highlight employers’ best practices regarding returning offenders, ways in which arrest and conviction records have been used appropriately and inappropriately, and current legal standards.

EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien commenced the meeting by expressing the commission’s concern that employers adopt hiring practices for people with arrest and conviction records that “balance business concerns with the need to ensure that employment practices are fair and non-discriminatory." Chairperson Berrien referenced the Second Chance Act in her opening comments and acknowledged the role it is playing in providing reentry services for individuals with criminal histories. Additional EEOC commissioners echoed the Ms. Berrien's comments and emphasized their interest in ensuring that current EEOC policies related to the hiring of people with criminal records are up-to-date.

To continue reading about this event, click here.

Events & Announcements

August 3: Webinar: Leveraging National Health Reform to Reduce Recidivism & Build Recovery: National Health Reform 101 for Criminal Justice

This webinar, sponsored by the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network on Criminal Justice, will feature a presentation by Maureen McDonnell, Director for Business & Health Care Strategy Development, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, August 3, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CT. To register for this event, click here.

August 4: Webinar: Leveraging Social Media Resources in Public Safety

This webinar, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will feature presentations by

  • Barbara J. Childress, Chief of Police, Richland Hills, Texas
  • Laurie Van Leuven, Naval Postgraduate School Fellow at Federal Emergency Management Agency

The webinar will be held on August 4, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. ET, and is limited to 150 participants. To register for this event, click here.

August 8: 23rd Annual Crimes Against Children Conference

Sponsored by the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center and the Dallas Police Department, this national conference is designed for professionals from the fields of law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, social work, children’s advocacy, therapy, and medicine who work directly with child victims of crime. The conference will be held from August 8-11, 2011, at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, Texas. To learn more about this event, click here.

September 11: 19th Annual ICCA Research Conference: Tools and Resources for Working with Special Populations

The 19th Annual International Community Corrections Association Research Conference will focus on skill-building to better serve special populations: people with mental illness, addictions, co-occurring disorders, women and girls, youth, and those people especially resistant to change who are at high risk of recidivating. One workshop track is dedicated to the implementation of best practices. The conference will be held September 11-14, 2011, in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, go to http://www.iccaweb.org/cincinnaticonference_2011.htm.

October 3: Pell Grants for Public Safety: An Educational Session

This event, sponsored by Education from the Inside Out, will offer an in-depth analysis of the reasons the advantages of higher education for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals from an economic and social perspective. It will present postsecondary correctional education as a meaningful step towards successful reintegration.

Location: OSI-Washington, D.C., 1730 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Time: 12:00-2:00 p.m. ET

To attend this event, please RSVP to lboyd@collegeandcommunity.org or 646-380-7780.

Publications & Resource

Recovery Month Kit

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, recently released the “National Recovery Month: Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective, People Recover” toolkit. As a key conduit for several of SAMHSA's strategic initiatives, Recovery Month is meant to increase practitioners’ understanding of substance use and mental disorders, in the interest of achieving the full potential of prevention and treatment support services. It also helps people recognize and seek assistance for these health conditions with the same urgency as any other condition and aims to reduce barriers to recovery. To download the toolkit, please click here.

A Call to Action: Safeguarding New York's Children of Incarcerated Parents

There are over 105,000 children in New York State with a parent in prison or jail. A report by the Osborne Association's New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, provides a blueprint for criminal justice and children's services agencies and officials to work cooperatively to protect these children. The report offers a series of recommendations to reform both the criminal justice and children's service systems to be more sensitive and responsive to the needs of this group of vulnerable children. The recommendations promote cost savings through policies that achieve better outcomes. To download this publication, click here.

System Overload: The Costs of Under-Resourcing Public Defense

This recently released report by the Justice Policy Institute found that public defense systems across the country are overburdened, and considers how these overburdened systems affect state and county budgets, the lives of those behind bars, the impact on their families, and the challenges of re-entering communities. The study further looks at why dedicated public defenders do not have enough time to conduct thorough investigations, or meet with and provide quality representation for their clients, many of whom are low-income earners and people of color, and how this contributes to disparities in the criminal justice system. To learn more about this report, click here.

Reentry in the News

Articles from newspapers around the country covering issues related to reentry can be found on the National Reentry Resource Center website. Some recent articles, with excerpts, are posted below.

The Times-Picayune (LA) — Re-entry Court offers opportunity for young convicts to learn from lifers

7/25/11 — A new program called Re-entry Court uses lifers to teach young convicts everything from welding to anger management to being a better father, in hopes that this will be their last time behind bars. Re-entry Court was spearheaded by two Orleans Parish Criminal District Court judges, Arthur Hunter and Laurie White, who were tired of handing down prison sentences to offenders who would emerge no better than when they went in, unable to find a job upon release and likely to commit more crimes. Since last summer, Hunter and White have ordered about 40 nonviolent offenders with relatively short sentences to serve their time at Angola state penitentiary under the tutelage of inmate mentors.

Houston Chronicle (TX) — From locked in to locked out of public housing

7/19/11 — Last month, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development asked local public housing agencies to exercise discretion when considering housing for ex-offenders. The letter urges housing authorities to consider mitigating circumstances, such as completion of a supervised drug rehabilitation program.

San Francisco Examiner (CA) — San Francisco's Reentry Council considers legislation to aid re-entry of ex-cons

7/18/11 — Possible legislation under consideration in San Francisco would provide convicted felons with more rights to housing and jobs, perhaps affording them a protected-class status usually reserved for disadvantaged groups based on gender or ethnicity.

Norman Transcript (OK) — Organization helps incarcerated women

7/14/11 — At S-CAP, the women learn resumé writing and job-training skills and get help with housing, child care and education. S-CAP re-evaluates skills, does job profiles and teaches what is needed to attain a certificate. Then the woman is matched with an employer.

The News-Messenger (Ohio) — Old Fort grad making documentary on Sandusky Co. re-entry program

7/13/11 — Sandusky County's Re-Entry Program, aimed at helping former jail and prison inmates make a smooth transition back into society, will be in the spotlight in a documentary filmed by a local college student. Caitlyn Bass, a 2008 Old Fort High School graduate, chose the 1-year-old initiative as the subject for her visual communication technology project at Bowling Green State University.

Houston Chronicle (TX) — Forum helps ex-cons trying to turn lives around

7/10/11 — The importance of their finding work is irrefutable. An unemployed parolee is three to five times more likely to re-offend. And among those sent back to prison, about 85 percent were unemployed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Such numbers add a sense of urgency to the efforts of organizations like Road to Re-entry, which uses grant money to help parolees get back into the work force.

Santa Barbara Independent (CA) — Parolees first to graduate re-entry program

7/5/11 — The Day Reporting Centers in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, operated by nonprofit Community Solutions Inc. and funded with state dollars, opened in July of last year. Parolees work with case managers and employment counselors to set goals, receive employment training, and develop coping skills to prepare them for reentry into the community.

Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV) — Las Vegas Urban League helps put felons back to work

7/5/11 — The program provides intensive case management, job skills training, mentoring and other services. The program has more than 260 participants and a 75 percent retention rate.

The Oklahoman (OK) — Oklahoma County program aids juvenile offenders with re-entry

7/5/11 — The Juvenile Re-entry of Oklahoma County program works to keep hard-core offenders from falling back into a life of crime.

Philadelphia Daily News (PA) — Half of Pa.'s inmates are rejailed within 5 years

7/5/11 — More than half the state's inmates - 55 percent - wound up back behind bars within five years of being released, according to state Department of Corrections data from last year. Though it has largely gone unnoticed by the public, the state is in the midst of a recidivism crisis that has contributed to a ballooning prison budget at a time when things like school funding and social programs are being slashed.


This is a National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter. Descriptions of publications, in most cases, are based on or excerpted from the source publication or website. The opinions expressed or language used in this type of content does not reflect the views and/or practices of the Council of State Governments Justice Center or the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

This newsletter site is funded in whole or in part through a grant (award number: 2009-CZBX-KO01) from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this newsletter (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).