The primary goals of the juvenile justice system, in addition to maintaining public safety, are “skill development, habilitation, rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs, and successful reintegration of youth into the community.” Juvenile justice reform is necessary to restore opportunity to all youth.
The tough-on-crime policies of the last decade have contributed to a dramatic increase in the incarceration of juveniles, which also increased the number transitioning back into communities, schools, and families. However, youth commit only a small portion of the nation’s crime, yet many suffer hardship and tried as adults. According to Statista, "In 2018, there were about 192,000 serious violent crimes committed by youths between the ages of 12 and 17 in the United States."
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 re enter their community. Having easy access to reentry programs and resources provides successful reentry and reduces recidivism and increases public safety.
The Second Chance Act "represents a federal investment in strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety." It can authorize federal grants for reentry services to enable a successful reentry.
The 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.