I was about 10 miles into what turned out to be a 49-mile bike ride in Acadia, Maine, when I got the call: Performance-based Standards (PbS) had been selected by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to develop reentry measurement standards.
It was big news – I stopped and got off my bike. It was a much-welcomed recognition of PbS’ work over the past 20 years and our leadership role helping to reform juvenile justice. When the call ended, I continued on for what was to be the longest bike ride of my life and the start of the largest undertaking for PbS to date.
Much like 20 years ago when OJJDP launched PbS to reform facilities in light of the research findings of the 1994 Conditions of Confinement Study, OJJDP is again providing the field with leadership and guidance for reform, this time through the development of reentry measurement standards. OJJDP recognizes juvenile justice leaders and agencies need models to implement the principles of the adolescent development research and want to better understand what works when investing in reentry services. The project’s goal is to provide the field with a set of national standards aligned with adolescent development research to measure the effectiveness of reentry services and try to quantify the developmental path leading to positive youth outcomes when youths return to their families and communities. PbS and its partners, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) and Vera Institute of Justice have three years to develop and pilot test the standards – and the clock started ticking a couple of months ago.
The work begins with a comprehensive review of the research and literature (published and unpublished) related to juvenile reentry services, implementation science, cost-benefit analysis and youth development as well as a scan of the current practices across the country. For example, what research has been done on education, employment, family engagement and supports related to reentry services? What agencies conduct risk, needs, responsivity assessments and what assessment instruments, are the results used to match youths to services and if so, what services? What data is currently used to measure the services’ effectiveness and impact on reoffending and positive youth development?
The strategy for the first phase of our work is to gather as much information as we can, identify the ideal indicators for reentry services according to research and map them with the existing indicators, data, practices and services and effectively and sustainably bridge the research-to-practice gap so we connect the right youths with the right services being implemented the right way.
- Written by Kim Godfrey
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