Breaking the Cycle of Crime

Posted by Harvey Reed
February 05, 2014

Fifteen years ago, our facilities held more than 2,200 youth and struggled to provide them with effective treatment and programming. Since then, Ohio has implemented sweeping reform, supporting communities to serve lower-risk youth close to home whenever possible. As a result, we now have fewer youth being sent to our facilities (in 2013 we had an average daily facility population of 515). The youth coming to us are the most challenging youth in all of the juvenile justice system.

In addition to the sharp decline in population, our reform efforts are paying off when it comes to breaking the cycle of crime. The one-year rate for recidivism stayed at a record low of 22.8% for the second consecutive year (tracking youth released in 2011 who returned to DYS or were admitted to the adult prison system). This means that we were able to keep a total of 693 youth from returning to DYS or being admitted to adult prison.

The agency continues to make education a priority because for those youth released from DYS with a high school diploma or GED, the one-year rate drops to 13.2% percent. The full report is available at http://www.dys.ohio.gov/DNN/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=KEUUTFyniNk%3d&tabid=117&mid=879 . You can also find an abbreviated Recidivism Fact Sheet and Community Corrections Facility (CCF) Fact Sheet here: http://www.dys.ohio.gov/dnn/AgencyInformation/Statistics/tabid/117/Default.aspx.

Yet there is still more work to be done. In the next year, we will focus on providing smooth and uninterrupted services for youth, strengthening healthy, positive relationships with youth and colleagues, and making all of our sites great workplaces. We will assess and make improvements to behavioral health services, unit management, and the Strength-based Behavior Management System. I will share more about these efforts in the coming months. By striving for excellence, we are helping youth who have committed crimes from ending up incarcerated again.

This article originally appeared in the February 2014 Director's Monthly Brief.