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Title: Presenter: Charisa Smith, Esq' JustChildren Program,


1
Coming Home A Brief Look at Reentry Issues for
Virginia Families
  • Presenter Charisa Smith, Esq. JustChildren
    Program,
  • Legal Aid Justice Center

2
Overview of Presentation
  • Mission Statement of JustChildrens Reentry
    Program
  • Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry
  • What is Involved in Successful Reentry for My
    Loved One?
  • Legal Rights to Successful Reentry
  • JustChildrens New Reentry Program
  • The Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal Record
  • Signs of Progress
  • What Can I do?

3
List of Handouts
  • Reentry Plans by AIM (1 Blank and 1 Sample)
  • 3 Rs of Reentry
  • Education / Job Training Handout
  • Virginia Dept. of Education Reenrollment Timeline
  • Healthy v. Unhealthy Relationships / Relapse
    Prevention
  • The Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal Record
  • Questionnaire for JustChildren Reentry Clients
  • AIM Needs Assessment Interview
  • Your Rights and the Police

4
Mission Statement of JustChildrens Reentry
Program
  • Young people returning from confinement in
    Virginia are in a unique position. They are
    reentering communities that need them to be
    leaders, workers, students, and active
    participants in civic life, policy-making, and
    family-building. Yet, these youth have been
    separated from such communities. Re-integrating
    youth need each individual in their family,
    community and government to extend a welcome
    back through educational reenrollment,
    vocational training, mentorship, recreational
    service provision, leadership development, and
    absolute necessities like housing, mental and
    physical health care, and family love.

5
Mission Statement of JustChildrens Reentry
Program, continued
  • Re-integrating youth are complex individuals, and
    they deserve to have all their needs addressed in
    a comprehensiverather than piecemealway. Given
    adequate support, re-integrating youth can prove
    themselves an asset to both self and society.
    This program aims to give such youth the legal
    and social assistance, faith, inspiration, and
    tools to show their promise. Ultimately, this
    program also seeks too assure that incarcerated
    youth receive a comprehensive aftercare plan at
    DJJ intake, and to decrease the number of
    juvenile offenders in Richmond.

6
Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry
7
Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry,
continued
  • Friendships with positive peers and adults help
    our youths mental health and adjustment.
  • With a solid, comprehensive reentry plan,
    juvenile offenders tend to stay away from future
    crime. An investment in juvenile reentry is
    therefore a clear investment in crime prevention.
  • Reentry planning saves the public money that
    would otherwise be spent on incarcerating youth
    later, or on supporting them when they have not
    achieved independence in adulthood. 
  • (MacArthur Network Reentry Talking Points)

8
Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry,
continued
  • Promoting youth development as a juvenile
    justice strategy stops youth from crime. Youth
    development includes programs that concentrate on
    improvements in education, social skills,
    employability, leadership and other life skills,
    to stress the youths positive qualities.
    (Bazemore and Terry, 2001)  
  • Assure that youth are enrolled in school upon
    reentry.
  • Involve families and community-based service
    providers in reentry planning.
  • Assure that all aspects of development are
    addressed in the reentry plan.
  • (MacArthur Network Reentry Talking Points)  

9
Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry,
continued
  • Reentry should begin with connections made while
    the youth is still incarcerated. Ideally,
    services parallel to reentry services would be
    provided in correctional facilities. (OJJDP,
    Childrens Law Center of MA)
  • Reentry should be a comprehensive process.
    Select parts of the process should not be
    separated, yet roles and responsibilities among
    agencies should be clearly defined.
    (JustChildren, OJJDP)
  • Reentry services should be individualized,
    culturally sensitive, flexible, developmentally
    appropriate for each youth, and take available
    community resources into account (OJJDP).
    Reentry services should be driven by goals and
    plans of the youth and youth should be highly
    involved in their own reentry program.
    (Childrens Law Center of MA, Connect for Kids)

10
Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry,
continued
  • Referring re-integrating youth to evidence based
    services (such as Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST),
    Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Life Skills
    Training (LST), Big Brothers Big Sisters of
    America (BBBS), and Aggression Replacement
    Therapy (ART)) is crucial. (WA State Dept. of
    Social Health Services Univ. of CO Center for
    the Study and Prevention of Violence (CO CSPV))
  • Contact levels between re-integrating youth,
    support staff, and supervising staff should be
    high at first. (See above cite, WA OJJDP JISP
    of NJ)
  • Caseloads of parole officers, probation officers,
    and aftercare workers should remain small for
    effective programming. (OJJDP)
  • Use of positive incentives and graduated
    consequences is advised. (OJJDP Ibid., WA)
  • Treating the entire family as the intervention
    unit works best. (Ibid., WA CO CSPV, JISP of
    NJ)

11
Background Best Practices in Juvenile Reentry,
continued
  • Keep in mind the young persons level of
    resistance and attempt to bargain with him/her
    rather than attempting to coerce participation.
    (JustChildren)
  • The Balanced and Restorative Justice approach
    is effective in reentry programs. (OJJDP, Youth
    Law Center, Justice Policy Institute)
  • The large and small business community can be
    strong allies for reentry programs. (Former VA
    Governer Mark Warner, JISP of NJ, Our Piece of
    the Pie (CT))

12
When young people get in trouble and spend time
in confinement, they will need help straightening
things out.
  • Reentry programs help youth make the most of the
    second chance that they deserve.

13
What is Involved in Successful Reentry for My
Loved One?
  • Successful program completion
  • (Families must press DJJ to make
  • sure mandated/required programs
  • are able to serve their loved one. Youth have
    been held longer than their LOS simply because
    there werent enough slots in a DJJ program.)
  • Good behavior in the facility.
  • Awareness of jealousy and sabotage on the ward
    (Thanks to Eileen Grey for insight).

14
Successful Reentry for My Loved One, continued
(SEE SAMPLE REENTRY PLANS)
  • Juveniles need a reentry plan to help them
  • Reenroll back in school
  • Receive continuing mental and
  • physical health care
  • Obtain and keep housing
  • Obtain forms of identification
  • Get vocational training, college preparation,
    and/or employment
  • Become financially independent
  • Find transportation
  • Find mentors, positive peer groups, and other
    social supports
  • Improve family relationships
  • Create positive leisure time
  • Develop their personal emotional well-being

15
Successful Reentry for My Loved One, continued
  • Awareness about how difficult with starting over
    can be
  • Choices, choices!
  • Coping with seeing people you lost touch with
  • Trusting family to keep you safe again
  • Willingness to accept adults authority at home,
    on job, at school
  • Families ability to stop blaming selves for
    youths problems
  • Willingness to improve family relationships
  • Behavior change cant last without values change
  • Everyone must take ownership of own behavior, own
    change, and future responsibility, but not harp
    on blame
  • Apologies mean a lot
  • See visits home as practice, educate the system
    on this
  • (Institute for Family Centered Services VA,
    2007)

16
Legal Rights to Successful Reentry
  • Re-enrollment Planning (SEE REENROLLMENT
    TIMELINE) As of January 2006, youth from Juvenile
    Correctional Centers are entitled to
    re-enrollment planning during incarceration, and
    to re-enrollment in school within 2 school days
    after release. 8 VA Administrative Code (VAC)
    20-660-40.
  • JustChildren helped create these regulations
  • Transition Team and Reenrollment Team must
    meet to create a plan for youths reenrollment.
  • Records must be transferred on time.
  • These meetings often do not take place, and many
    people in the system do not know about these
    regulations. At the minimum, you should require
    that Treatment Team members, transition
    specialists, and p.o. engage in reenrollment
    assistance.
  • Some type of weekly counseling for your youth is
    REQUIRED by the regulations, after the youth
    reenrolls. Insist that counseling is provided.

17
Re-enrollment Planning (SEE REENROLLMENT
TIMELINE)
  • Confidentiality of youths records must be kept.
  • Youth and family must be considered in the
    drafting of Reenrollment Plan.
  • Go to the bottom right hand side of
    http//www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/studentsrvcs/
    for a sample Reenrollment Form (Plan).

18
Legal Rights to Successful Reentry, continued
  • Mental Health Transition Planning Youth
    receiving mental health treatment in a DJJ
    facility may be entitled to receive mental
    health services transition planning and
    treatment back in the community. 8 VAC 35-180-10
    et seq. (These regulations are scheduled to be
    final in December 2007).
  • JustChildren helped create these regulations.
  • Facilities will review cases 90 days before
    release, to see if youth are eligible.
  • Youth, family, mental health professional, and
    facility staff are included in drafting a plan.
  • Plan will be developed at least 30 days before
    release, including applications for funding for
    services. (JustChildren thinks this should be
    done well before 30 days pre-release).
  • Plan will be reviewed every 90 days after youths
    release.

19
Legal Rights to Successful Reentry, continued
  • Work Release The VA Administrative Code has
    regulations about juvenile work release programs.
    Natural Bridge had a pilot program, and now DJJ
    is expanding. Youth worked in local restaurants,
    car repair shops, and other businesses. See
    JustChildren to find out more about juvenile work
    release opportunities. 6 VAC 35-190-10 et seq.
  • Work release can be valuable for youth and can
    assist reentry.
  • NOTE There is no affirmative right to work
    release, but families can press for these
    opportunities.

20
Legal Rights to Successful Reentry, continued
  • Post-dispositional detention programs Some
    local detention centers have programs where youth
    can stay after their term in a JCC. They go to
    these centers to learn how to cope with life in
    the community. They connect with community
    services. They prepare for reentry.
    JustChildren can help find out if there is such a
    program in your area. There are limited slots.
  • Beaumont transitional cottages DJJ is still
    working on cottages at Beaumont which will be a
    step down to reentry. Rules will be relaxed
    and youth will connect with community resources.
    However, they will still be at Beaumont, most
    likely far from their families and home. There
    are limited slots.

21
Legal Rights to Successful Reentry, continued
  • Transitional Parole Officers In Richmond,
    Petersburg, and Fredericksburg, there are special
    parole officers that work with youth 60-90 days
    before release. They meet with youth weekly and
    prepare for their reentry. These officers have a
    limited caseload.
  • Special Education Entitlements Youth with
    special ed needs have the right to attend public
    school or college until age 21, paid by the
    state. IEP meetings and special ed Transition
    Meetings are great ways to prepare for reentry.
    Insist on an IEP meeting before (and after) your
    youth is released. Release is a change in
    placement.

22
Legal Rights to Successful Reentry, continued
  • NOTE Best practices shows that separating
    parts of the reentry process (like school
    reenrollment and mental health transition) is not
    the best way to go. See JustChildren for ways
    you can help change this.

23
JustChildrens New Reentry Program, The Need
  • Young people returning from Virginias Juvenile
    Correctional Centers (JCCs) have usually made
    significant progress. Virginia (DJJ DCE)
    spends at least 100,707 per year to incarcerate
    each youth. Most young people who become
    incarcerated return to their communities while
    they are still young.
  • Surprisingly, a similar investment to the
    investment made in incarceration has NOT been
    made in juvenile reentry. Research shows that
    without a solid, far-reaching plan to help them
    transition back to their community, these
    childrens progress may be wasted, and the
    children may be tempted to commit future crimes.

24
JustChildrens New Reentry Program, The Program
  • Advocating for sound city and state-wide
  • juvenile reentry policies.
  • Taking the cases of youth reentering the Richmond
    community and helping them plan for, and achieve,
    reentry.
  • Helping formerly incarcerated youth tell their
    stories.

25
JustChildrens New Reentry Program, Key Goals
  • To help Richmond develop a best practices
    approach to reentry.
  • To help previously incarcerated juveniles
    successfully reenter Richmond.
  • To promote community reentry Welcome Centers,
    as other cities and states have done.
  • To involve community-based and faith-based
    organizations in JustChildrens advocacy work.

26
Why are reentry programs so important?
27
Because of the Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal
Record (SEE THE HANDOUT)
  • 1 in 5 Americans has a criminal history. Most
    youth get in trouble at least once. Juveniles
    found delinquent have NOT been convicted of a
    crime and can answer NO to that question. A
    juvenile court proceeding is a civil, not a
    criminal, proceeding.
  • Who has access to my childs juvenile court file?
    Juvenile court records are generally
    confidentialprotected from the public and
    press. But courts balance the potential harm
    caused to a juvenile with the publics right to
    access information.
  • When juvenile records are not confidential 1.
    Where public interest requires, a juveniles
    name and address, the nature of the crime, are
    exposed for certain serious crimes. 2. Where
    public safety requires, law enforcement can get
    any information on a gang-related activity from
    an investigation of a juvenile. 3. Social,
    medical, and mental health records are open to
    certain public employees, the juveniles
    guardian, the juvenile (if age 18), and others
    with a legitimate interest. 4. For certain
    serious crimes, courts file a report with the
    school superintendent and notify the
    superintendent of the cases result.
    16.1-305.1

28
More on Juvenile and Criminal
Court Records
  • WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? Other than in the
    situations just listed, NO ONE can get access to
    juvenile court records. If families are
    careful, they can be protected from eviction from
    public housing, and from unwarranted attention at
    school and in the community. DO NOT tell public
    housing authorities, or anyone who can put your
    family at risk, about your childs juvenile
    offense. Certain entities (churches, nonprofits,
    treatment facilities) can help, but BE CAREFUL
    who you tell and who you give your records to.
    Also, school disciplinary records are NOT
    accessible to the public.
  • Circuit Court (criminal) records are public
    information.
  • Expungement and Destruction of Records
  • Juveniles found innocent, or who have had their
    case dismissed, may file a motion requesting
    destruction of all records about that charge.
    Upon expungement, the crime will be treated as
    if it never occurred. 16.1-306. Juvenile court
    records are also automatically destroyed each
    year for juveniles who have turned 19 years old,
    if 5 years have elapsed since the last hearing.
    If the juvenile was found guilty of a vehicle
    crime (except parking), destruction occurs when
    the juvenile turns 29. However, police records
    are not destroyed at these times. Ask
    JustChildren how you can get involved to help.

29
More on Juvenile and Criminal Court Records
  • Expungement and Destruction of Records,
    continued
  • If a person tried in Circuit (criminal) Court is
    acquitted, successfully pleads not guilty, has
    their case dismissed, or gets an absolute pardon,
    s/he may file a petition requesting
    expungement. If expungement occurs, they may
    deny the existence of the arrest, and employers,
    educational institutions, and occupational
    licensing authorities may not ask about expunged
    arrests. 19.2-392.4.

30
The Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal Record,
continued
  • Former offenders face many barriers after theyve
    served their time
  • Public School Many public schools try to keep
    former offenders out of school even after they
    have served time. A juvenile must wait until
    their suspension or expulsion ends, but all
    students have the right to re-enroll.
  • Driving Privileges Virginia revokes or suspends
    drivers licenses for driving under the influence
    (DUI) and drug-related convictions. In certain
    situations like child visitation, employment, and
    attendance of rehab programs, a restricted
    license can be obtained. VA Code Annotated
    18.2-271 and 46.2-390.1.

31
The Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal Record,
continued
  • Employment Employers can consider arrests and
    convictions. Employers are free to deny
    employment for that reason.
  • College Admission and Student Financial Aid
    Many colleges ask applicants whether they have
    been in any school or court disciplinary
    proceeding. Typically, saying yes will not
    prevent acceptance into college, but denying the
    truth can lead to a denial of admission. Federal
    financial aid is denied to students who are
    convicted of drug-related offenses while they are
    receiving such aid.
  • Military Service Each branch of the U.S.
    Military has its own requirements for enlisting
    people with juvenile and criminal records.
  • Voting Rights All Virginia citizens on
    probation or parole, or who are incarcerated, are
    ineligible to vote. VA Constitution, Article. 2,
    1.

32
The Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal Record,
(continued)
  • Public Benefits, Housing, and Food Stamps
    People with drug-felony convictions dated after
    1996 are ineligible to receive TANF (welfare) and
    food stamps. 63.1-25.2 and -86.1. There are
    various bans on public housing residence
    depending on the type of offense.
  • Inability to Adopt or Formally Foster Children
    There is a bar against adopting and fostering
    children for several offenses (child abuse and
    neglect and violent, sexual and drug-related
    crimes, including juvenile felonies). Some
    misdemeanor offenders may adopt or foster if 10
    years have passed since the conviction.
    63.1-198.1.

33
The Effects of a Juvenile or Criminal Record,
(continued)
  • Sex Offenders Anyone convicted or found
    delinquent of a sex offense on or after July 1,
    1994, must register and re-register in the VA Sex
    Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry.
    9.1-902. 9.1-901.
  • Restoration of Lost Privileges Virginia
    offenders may apply to have certain civil rights
    that are lost upon a felony conviction (the right
    to vote, hold public office, or serve on a jury)
    restored after completion of their sentence.
    Restoration of rights is granted about 60 to 100
    times per year. Pardons are theoretically
    available, but none have been granted since
    January 2002. -Legal Action Center telephone
    Interview with Pattie Tucker, Director of
    Extraditions and Clemency, Secretary of the
    Commonwealth of Virginia (August 15, 2002).
    53.1-229 and -231.1.

34
So, are there any signs of progress with juvenile
reentry in Virginia?
35
Signs of Progress
  • Trial in Juvenile Court for Subsequent Offenses
    In the 2007 General Assembly session, the Once
    an adult, always an adult law was changed! Now,
    if a young person is tried in Circuit Court and
    not convicted, s/he can be the subject of a
    juvenile court case again, instead of having to
    be tried in adult court for new offenses. (House
    Bill 3007)

36
Signs of Progress, (continued)
  • JustChildrens new Reentry Program
  • Meetings are under way between JustChildren and
    Richmond city officials, public agencies, and
    private parties about better reenrollment
    policies and a best practices model.
  • JustChildrens report on the state of Richmonds
    juvenile reentry situation will be released
    shortly.
  • JustChildren is now taking clients for reentry
    assistance. These youth must be returning to
    Richmond or its surrounding counties.
  • Meetings are under way between community and
    religious leaders and JustChildren, to discuss
    collaborations for juvenile justice advocacy.

37
What can I do?
  • Be a supportive, active/activist,
  • well-informed person in your incarcerated
  • loved ones life. Demand successful reentry for
    them.
  • Spread the word about what you learn here.
  • Vote for politicians who represent your
    interests. Encourage your family and friends to
    vote, as well.
  • Become involved in community efforts to improve
    juvenile and criminal justice laws and practices
    (FAVY, JustChildrens organizing network, church
    ministries, activist organizations).

38
What can I do? (continued)
  • Organize, or help community leaders to organize,
    an Expungement Day in your community.
  • Write your city councilman/woman, mayor,
    delegate, state senator, public agency officials,
    or U.S. Congressperson/Senator.
  • Go on the internet and investigate national
    juvenile justice reform organizations / efforts.
    Ask them how you can help. (See workshop
    presenter for more information).

39
What can I do? (continued)
  • And remind everyone that SUCCESSFUL REENTRY
    PUBLIC SAFETY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

40
For more information, contact
  • JustChildren
  • A Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center
  • 123 E. Broad St.
  • Richmond, VA 23219
  • (804) 643-1086
  • And take one of the presenters cards!

41
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