Did you know that the average annual cost of housing juveniles in a locked facility is $88,000 per person? As a whole, states spend approximately $6,000,000,000 a year on incarcerated youth. In addition to the cost, incarcerated youth are 50 times more likely to recidivate than their counterparts who remain in the community. Finally, 70 percent of incarcerated youth have committed nonviolent crimes and could be managed safely within their own communities.
H.R. 3114 tackles this issue.
H.R. 3114, proposed on October 6, 2011, would provide grants for Civic Justice Corps programs for court-involved, previously incarcerated, and otherwise disadvantaged youth and young adults.
This bill would allow states a grant to operate the Civic Justice Corps Model.The Civic Justice Corps Model would:
- Recruit and enroll youth with court involvement, previous incarceration and otherwise disadvantaged youth and young adults ages 16-25.
- Provide educational programing and support to allow participants to obtain their GED or high school diploma
- Provide an interdisciplinary approach to transitional service planning
- Work on life and job skills through community service based projects
- Work with employers in the community to provide post-program opportunities
- Provide post-program support for the youth for at least 12-months following completion
- Complete studies for effectiveness
Wisconsin has 8 Civic Justice Corps compared to one in Minnesota.
Implications for child welfare policy
Although this bill's text does not mention youth involved in the child welfare system, it does have implications for child welfare policy, considering that "child abuse and neglect increase the risk of arrest as a juvenile by 55% and the risk of committing a violent crime by 96%," according to The Judges' Page issue on crossover cases. Because of the model's emphasis on education, work readiness, and other skills needed for independent living, this bill could provide needed assistance for older youth involved in both systems as they work to transition to independent living.
Do you think this model would reduce the states' costs of youth incarceration? Do you believe this model would help lower the youth recidivism rate? How do you feel that this ties in with child welfare policy?