Presentation on theme: "Issues Faced by Juveniles Leaving Custody: Breaking Down the Barriers University of Oregon April 6, 2007 Pat Arthur, National Center for Youth Law."— Presentation transcript:
Issues Faced by Juveniles Leaving Custody: Breaking Down the Barriers University of Oregon April 6, 2007 Pat Arthur, National Center for Youth Law
Returning Home After Incarceration Returning Home After Incarceration Annually approximately 100,000 juveniles nationwide age 17 and under are released back to the community after a period of incarceration.
Typical Characteristics of Juveniles Released from Incarceration Mostly male Approximately half between the ages of 14 & 17 Disproportionately youth of color Likely to be from single-parent home Likely to have relative who is incarcerated
Typical Characteristics On average, have spent 1/3 of teenage years in confinement Significant alcohol and substance abuse problems Over 90% of the girls have a history of physical or sexual abuse High rate of mental health needs: 66% of the youth committed to the Oregon Youth Authority have a diagnosed mental health disorder (excluding conduct disorder)
Typical Characteristics Prevalence of learning disability -- 3 to 5 times higher than the general youth population Returning home to an impoverished family and neighborhood More than 2/3rds will not return to school upon release
Recidivism National research suggests recidivism rates for juvenile parolees range from 55 to 75 percent. The Oregon Youth Authority reports the recidivism rate for juvenile offenders statewide in Oregon in 2005 was 31.5 percent.
Elements of Successful Reentry Planning Comprehensive process that begins at sentencing Reentry planning continues throughout incarceration Seamless coordination between multiple systems Effective inter-agency information exchange consistent with State and Federal laws
Elements of Successful Reentry Planning Continuous and consistent access to services in the community Child advocates (or service brokers) to help obtain and coordinate services Ties to community social networks and family supports
Barriers to Successful Reentry Reluctance by child-serving systems to serve youth leaving incarceration Lack of systems coordination Lack of continuous access to needed health services, including medications, and mental health treatment Inadequate pre-release transition planning
Transition Planning Reduces Recidivism Youth who received mental health treatment within the first 3-months of release in Washington State were less likely to re-offend Youth with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders who received extensive discharge planning in Washington State were less likely to re-offend Trupin, et al., 2004
Access to Health Benefits Ensuring that eligible juveniles leaving state or county custody have access to Medicaid benefits and cash assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) immediately upon release enhances the likelihood of successful reentry. Ensuring that eligible juveniles leaving state or county custody have access to Medicaid benefits and cash assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) immediately upon release enhances the likelihood of successful reentry.
SSI Youth cannot receive SSI benefits while incarcerated. Youth can have their SSI benefits suspended for up to 12-months during a period of incarceration. Reinstatement of suspended benefits avoids the need to re-determine eligibility upon release. Youth committed to OYA who have been on SSI or who are likely to be eligible for SSI will be pre- qualified before release.
Medicaid: The Inmate Exception Federal law prohibits Medicaid payments for services to individuals who are “inmates of a public institution.” County detention and state juvenile facilities are “public institutions.” An individual is not an inmate of a public institution if temporarily in detention awaiting placement to a more appropriate setting, if transferred to an in-patient hospital or psychiatric facility, or if on probation or parole.
Suspension vs. Termination Although federal law prohibits states from receiving federal financial participation (federal matching funds) for health services provided to Medicaid-eligible juveniles in certain types of custody, Medicaid benefits may be, and should be, suspended instead of terminated during incarceration to aid in transitioning back to the community.
Suspension vs. Termination States that suspend rather than terminate Medicaid benefits during incarceration prevent unnecessary delay in processing new eligibility applications upon release. ORS 414.420 requires the suspension of Medicaid benefits for youth “with a serious mental illness” who are confined in a youth correctional facility. But no other category of offender is included in this state mandate.
Limitations of ORS 414.420 Youth in OYA custody who are not covered by ORS 414.420 do not receive a pre-release determination of presumptive eligibility 90-days prior to release as is provided to youth with serious mental illness. This may result in delay of the reinstatement of benefits upon release. Youth in OYA custody who are not covered by ORS 414.420 do not receive a pre-release determination of presumptive eligibility 90-days prior to release as is provided to youth with serious mental illness. This may result in delay of the reinstatement of benefits upon release.
Under current law and practice in Oregon: Youth over the age of 18 whose Medicaid benefits were based upon family eligibility prior to their incarceration will be released from OYA without any pre-release planning to ensure they receive of benefits immediately upon release. Medicaid-eligible youth under the age of 18 who are removed from their family’s case during incarceration will have their Medicaid benefits resumed upon release only when and if the family goes to a branch Medicaid office to seek reinstatement.
Education Education is a key indicator of success and has a positive effect in reducing recidivism. One study found that “school performance is by far the most singular predictor of delinquency and future criminality.” The vast majority of youth leaving custody do not go back to school when they return to the community.
Barriers to School Reentry Schools often don’t want these children back Release from custody is often mid- semester Transfer of school records and credits earned in custody is difficult
Barriers Stigmatization of certain offenders, especially sex offenders Lack of clear bureaucratic roles and responsibilities for making sure youth are re-enrolled in school upon release Lack of training for implementing school reenrollment procedures
Positive School Re-entry Models Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) JustChildren Advocacy in Virginia
Possible Litigation Strategies for Special Education Eligible Youth B.L. v. California Department of Education B.L. v. California Department of Education
Legislation Federal: The Second Chance Act of 2007 State Models: Bazelon Center Materials Fair Chance Act and other 2006 CA Legislation
Additional Resources on Reentry Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention National Juvenile Justice Network Re-Entry Policy Council of the Council of State Governments The National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice