A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Youth reentry program expanding to Nash

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RALEIGH — The federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has awarded the N.C. Department of Public Safety a 2019 Second Chance Act Grant for the expansion, adaptation and evaluation of the Juvenile Justice Section’s Youth Reentry Program.

The grant, worth $1.16 million, will continue funding for the Youth Reentry Program, also known as Reentry to Resiliency, initiated with grant funding in 2016. The department partnered with Communities in Schools of North Carolina to pilot the R2R program in four counties: Wake, Durham, Guilford and Cumberland.

The new funding will enable the expansion of the program to two additional counties — Nash and Mecklenburg — and will help officials adapt the program model to better meet the needs of the transition-age young people who will be served by the juvenile justice system when the age of juvenile jurisdiction increases to 18 in December.

The R2R program pairs justice-involved youths and their families with youth success coaches who help the children transition successfully from confinement in a youth development center back into their communities and schools.

“Early, preliminary outcomes from this program have been remarkably promising,” said William Lassiter, deputy secretary for juvenile justice. “In the five months following the program’s first graduation, only 21% of the graduates had re-offended, rather than the comparative recidivism rate of roughly 50% we’ve seen from youth released from YDCs who don’t have the benefit of this program.”

N.C. Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks applauded these early program results.

“It is clear that the life- and coping skills taught by the youth success coaches are a win-win for these children and our communities,” said Hooks. “Additionally, our schools are safer, with children who are returning from confinement but not returning to a life of crime.”

In addition to expanding the counties served and adapting the program to older juveniles, this new infusion of grant funding will allow Juvenile Justice to work in partnership with the Research Triangle Institute to evaluate the program’s fidelity, performance measures, long-term outcomes and future needs.