Quarterly Meeting Agenda
Friday, May 17, 2002
Office of Justice Programs
Please note: a picture I.D. is required for admittance.
Quarterly Meeting Summary
May 17, 2002
Office of Justice Programs
This meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provided members and the public with information about the agreement between the U.S. Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Commerce, and the Veterans Administration to implement a coordinated, interagency initiative involving the return of criminal offenders to their communities, otherwise known as the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry, or "Going Home," Initiative. The Initiative began a cooperative and coordinated Federal effort to encourage and support communities throughout the Nation to design and implement a comprehensive approach to address the challenges of adult and juvenile offenders returning from a period of incarceration. Accordingly, Federal agency representatives discussed the agreed-upon terms of the content and method for the administration of the multiyear discretionary program.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP),
Office of the Assistant Attorney General, OJ
Executive Office for Weed and Seed, OJP
National Institute of Justice (NIJ), OJP
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Barbara Broman, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
U.S. Department of the Treasury
U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Welcome and Opening Remarks
J. Robert Flores, Vice Chair, Coordinating Council; Administrator, OJJDP
Mr. Flores welcomed Federal agency representatives to the quarterly meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Coordinating Council) and emphasized that the Council needs to communicate the juvenile justice message clearly and urgently to the general public to effectively compete for resources.
Mr. Flores thanked Terrence S. Donahue for his excellent work during his tenure as Acting Administrator for OJJDP and welcomed Vernadette Ramirez Broyles, Director of Public Policy and Legal Counsel, We Care America, the new practitioner member of the Coordinating Council. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former Assistant District Attorney with the Fulton County District Attorney's Office in Atlanta, GA, Ms. Broyles consults with government officials at the local, State, and national levels regarding faith-based initiatives and also provides faith-based audiences with information on entering into collaborations with the government.
Serious and Violent Reentry Initiative "Going Home" Status Report
Terrence S. Donahue, Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General, OJP
Mr. Donahue updated the Coordinating Council on the status of several OJJDP initiatives and discussed the Serious and Violent Reentry, or "Going Home," Initiative in depth. The solicitation period for the Serious and Violent Reentry Initiative (now called "Going Home") closed on May 15, 2002. The goal is to build on innovative ideas that reduce the recidivism of serious, high-risk offenders and ultimately to reduce the amount of violent and other serious crime in the United States. Participating in the development of this comprehensive initiative focused on adult and juvenile serious offenders are DOJ, DOL, HHS, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Veterans Administration. The $100 million program will develop a prototype adult and juvenile program in each State and territory. The prototypes will have three phases: institutional readiness, community reentry, and stabilization (what happens beyond the "arm of the law").
Young adult offenders reoffend at a rate of 63 percent in the first 3 years after release. On average, they commit 10 additional crimes before they are caught. By the fourth year after release, 94 percent return to prison. Released prisoners' recidivism has become a problem for every community. These offenders are rarely plugged into existing local resources for which they are eligible. They are a difficult, dangerous population and use a large amount of resources, but research shows they will reoffend if they do not receive needed services. The Reentry Initiative will leverage discretionary dollars from the Federal partners but also will make use of existing community programs that can serve this population.
A reentry program brings offenders back into their communities through a controlled process that is monitored by a clear authority, such as a judge. It provides a vehicle for assessing the needs of offenders, developing structured plans for reentry with access to a broad range of services, and creating positive peer group and community connections. Before offenders leave the institution, they will have a reentry plan and will have been tied to resources, have a place to live, and have some type of monitoring in place.
OJJDP has received 92 applications for Reentry Initiative funding, from all States and territories except Nebraska. State corrections departments apply for and receive the grants but must work with a local agency. Recipients will be expected to set up some type of reentry court, develop an assessment and reentry plan, and tie the program to local resources. (OJJDP is working with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to develop a guide for creating a reentry court.) Each successful applicant will receive a grant of $2 million. Grant awards should be made by the end of June. The initiative will include a $20 million impact and process evaluation performed by the National Institute of Justice. The National Institute of Corrections will provide training and technical assistance. DOL is developing a companion initiative, called "Welcome Home," to provide training and resources to offenders who are returning to the community.
Last November, the Coordinating Council also discussed an initiative focused on harnessing the good will and resources of faith-based and community-based organizations. OJJDP is not proceeding with its original plan to create Centers for Continuous Capacity but will instead interface with programs such as OJP's Executive Office for Weed and Seed, bringing training and technical assistance to faith-based and community-based organizations in areas such as tutoring, mentoring, and foster care.
OJJDP has also developed an initiative to franchise successful programs. The University of Colorado's Center for the Prevention of Juvenile Violence examined 500 programs that had conducted process and impact evaluations. The Center's Blueprints for Violence Prevention project selected 13 programs that met 3 criteria: they have produced convincing scientific data demonstrating their impact, they can be replicated in another site with a separate population and separate staff, and they can be sustained over time. OJJDP visited a number of corporations in Arizona to learn whether corporations would support these successful turnkey programs. The first Blueprints program to be franchised provides guidance from registered nurses to young women in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
Council Discussion Chaired by J. Robert Flores
Gordon Martin, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court, District Court, suggested the Reentry Initiative is doomed if communities cannot provide housing. William Glick, Executive Director, Indiana Juvenile Justice Task Force, Inc., raised the issue of HUD's One Strike program, which gives local public housing authorities the right to refuse housing to returning felons. Most private-sector rentals have the same policy. Mr. Donahue said the States have VOITIS (Violent Offender Incarceration Truth-In-Sentencing) funding to build prisons but cannot afford to staff those prisons. Those dollars could be used for some sort of supervised, transitional housing for small groups of reentering offenders.
Darlind Davis, Chief, Prevention Branch, ONDCP, said substance abuse issues are critical for both adult and juvenile populations, and treatment to change addictive behavior would be strongly recommended as part of the reentry program. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), HHS, is a Federal partner and actively involved in the Reentry Program.
Nataki MacMurray, Policy Analyst, ONDCP, asked whether the initiative addresses the issue of preparing the family and the community for the offending person's return. Mr. Donahue agreed that is an important component of reentry and is part of the initiative. Not only is the offender's family unprepared, often the victims are unaware of the offender's return and go through the entire victimization process all over again.
Larry Brendtro, President, Reclaiming Youth, said that when offenders reenter the community, they do not know how to access resources, how to negotiate for a job in light of their criminal record, and how to deal with schools that have only zero-tolerance policies to handle a crisis. If they relapse, their families may lose their homes. It would be a good idea to educate not only reentering individuals but also the community about existing resources within Federal agencies. He suggested that communities need to provide something other than halfway houses to reentering youth; the research is clear that youth associated with other troubled kids are likely to get into trouble.
Community-Based Initiatives and Partnership
Robert Samuels, Acting Director, Executive Office for Weed and Seed
Mr. Samuels briefed the Coordinating Council on the work of the Executive Office for Weed and Seed and on Operation Weed and Seed. The grants program is based on a comprehensive strategy: law enforcement and prosecutors "weed" neighborhoods of criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse, and they and other community stakeholders "seed" these areas by bringing in human services, including prevention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization. At each Weed and Seed site, the U.S. Attorney's Office plays a central role in developing strategies by organizing the steering committee and bringing together other Weed and Seed participants. The U.S. Attorney's Office also coordinates Federal, State, and local law enforcement efforts and can mobilize other Federal resources to support the "seeding" effort.
Weed and Seed provides an additional element of crime prevention and control by reaching out to State and city governments, citizens, and nonprofit organizations to coordinate activities and help law enforcement agencies do their job. The program helps to reduce alienation between law enforcement and citizens. It facilitates access to services--for example, by making a public housing community safer so residents can visit the Boys and Girls Club. Community policing, another Weed and Seed element, enhances the connection between communities and police. The prevention, intervention, and treatment activities take place in a "Safe Haven," typically an afterschool spot where youth can do homework and develop computer and job skills. The Safe Haven can be expanded to provide educational opportunities for parents and other services such as health care screening. The final element of the Weed and Seed strategy is neighborhood restoration, ranging from neighborhood cleanup to economic development, to restore communities.
Weed and Seed has grown from 3 sites in 1991 to more than 300 today. Each site receives $200,000 per year plus assistance in developing strategies and reaching out to other agencies. Some Weed and Seed sites have already begun to develop their own reentry initiatives. Weed and Seed's comprehensive planning and coordination makes it a natural partner and good investment for coordination with other Federal partners and faith-based organizations. Mr. Samuels thanked the Federal agencies for their assistance in this program, particularly ONDCP and OJJDP for their assistance in the Drug-Free Communities program, HHS's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Mr. Flores outlined a number of issues that the Coordinating Council could address in upcoming months:
Ms. Davis reported that ONDCP is looking for interagency cooperation in a new program to stop drug use at its earliest stages. ONDCP wants to tackle demand reduction at the second level of initiated use, at the behavioral, pre-addictive stage, and is looking for partners in the faith-based community and in the schools to get the effort on the right track.
Herb Jones, Director, External Affairs/Project Outreach, Office of the Under Secretary for Enforcement, U.S. Department of Treasury, suggested that there should be more official recognition of the kids who have made the tough decision not to "screw up." Society and the media need to recognize accomplishments other than athletics and to honor academic, scientific, and service achievements. Mr. Glick said the Congressional Awards Program honors achievements in academics, the arts, and physical achievements, similar to Eagle Scout recognition. The National Network for Youth is also involved with youth awards. Barbara Broman, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy, HHS, reported that HHS is working on a youth summit to highlight positive activities.
Richard Morris, Youth Development Specialist, DOL, suggested that the Coordinating Council should get feedback from young people. Judge Martin agreed that recognition of good kids is important, but wondered whether these young people need the advocacy of the Council. Mr. Brendtro's Reclaiming Youth program regularly includes presentations from young people with problems; he suggested that hearing from this population might refresh the Council's focus.
Mr. Flores said he plans to make some changes in how the Coordinating Council works. The Council may want to include some members not listed by statute, will need to talk on a regular basis and perform substantial work to prepare for meetings, and may meet in the field, not just in Washington, DC. It is critical to be fully informed in order to provide wise counsel to the President on these important issues. Mr. Flores said he looks forward to continued conversations on other issues of importance to the Council. He thanked the Council Federal members and practitioners for their work and adjourned the meeting.