What Youth Say About Their Reentry Needs

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OJJDP on July/August 2022

Amiyah Davis entered the juvenile justice system at age 10. When she transitioned from a residential facility to life in the community, she “knew very little” about managing on her own, she told attendees of a recent webinar, Raising the Bar on Juvenile Reentry: What Young People Say They Need

“I didn’t know how to wash laundry, let alone cook a meal,” Ms. Davis said. She did not know how to apply for public assistance, nor the range of other services she could receive. Connecting with someone like herself—a young person who had experienced “the system” but already maneuvered the hurdles she faced—would have made all the difference, she said.

“What’s better than someone teaching someone how to transition from the system than someone that has actually been within the system?” Ms. Davis asked. Insights from other webinar participants echoed her reflections about reentry, one of the most critical stages in the lives of system-involved youth.

The Performance-based Standards Learning Institute (PbS), an OJJDP grantee, held Raising the Bar on Juvenile Reentry: What Young People Say They Need in April, in conjunction with Second Chance Month. The webinar featured a panel of four young adults who shared their reentry experiences and offered suggestions for ways juvenile justice agencies and community-based providers can better prepare system-involved youth for life in their communities. The National Reentry Resource Center hosted the event; Kim Godfrey Lovett, Executive Director of PbS, and Melissa Sickmund, Director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, moderated.