This report summarizes the findings and methodologies of an evaluation of sites funded in fiscal year (FY) 2010 by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) juvenile Second Chance Act (SCA).
In response to increasing concerns about recidivism and the welfare of youth who return to communities from incarceration, the federal Second Chance Act (SCA) was enacted in 2008 to authorize funding to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of juvenile reentry programs. Just over 100 juvenile SCA awards have been made to grantees across the country to improve reentry programming and outcomes for youth returning home after placement in juvenile correctional facilities. The current report presents findings and methodologies for five juvenile SCA grantees funded in FY2008 to implement comprehensive reentry programs for high-risk youth, as well as to provide policymakers, practitioners, and funders with empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these programs in reducing recidivism and improving reintegration outcomes for youth offenders. The evaluation also determined whether programs were implemented with fidelity to their design and policies. The sites evaluated were in Sacramento, California; Oakland, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Houston, Texas; and Tidewater, Virginia. In none of the sites was there a strong possibility of a local contemporaneous comparison group of youth not served by the program. At inception, all sites attempted to implement key SCA elements, including prerelease service coordination and collaborative reentry planning; however, common challenges during the grant period prevented fidelity to program design. Changes in states’ juvenile justice administration in California, Texas, and Virginia also impeded intended implementation. The impacts evaluation included two of the sites. There was some indication of program benefit in Virginia, but it was not robust. The Oklahoma site showed lower recidivism during the treatment period, but it did not reach statistical significance.