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RECLAIM Ohio: A Promising Alternative to Teen Incarceration
by AVERY KLEIN

PEW recently published a report revealing the effectiveness of the RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to Incarceration of Minors) funding initiative in Ohio. The report found RECLAIM to be highly successful in lowering recidivism rates and saving the state millions of dollars:

RECLAIM is an initiative funding program that allows county courts to implement community based programs in order to provide alternatives to juvenile incarceration for juvenile offenders or youth at risk of offending. The increased funding for counties is based on an equation that refunds counties for the time juvenile offenders would have spent if they had been committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) state facility.

Like many states in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ohio saw an increase in the incarcerated youth population. By 1992, the state reached an all-time high of 180 percent of capacity with many of the youth being first-time nonviolent offenders. The idea was that by better serving low to medium risk offenders through locally tailored community programs, admissions would decrease as well as recidivism rates.

On July 1, 1993 RECLAIM was created from House Bill 152 and on January 1, 1994 the program was piloted to 9 counties. After seeing a 42.7% reduction in admissions (ohio.gov), RECLAIM was introduced statewide in January of 1995.

KEY RESULTS

  • Youth are served locally where families can fully participate in their treatment
  • 80% drop of youth committed annually to secure detention from 1992-2012. This allowed the state to permanently close four of its secure facilities at a cost of saving the state over $50 million dollars
  • Every dollar spent on RECLAIM saved the state between $11-$45 in commitment and processing costs (depending on youth risk level)
  • Recidivism rates are lowest among low to high risk offending youth in RECLAIM programs compared to youth admitted through DYS and Community Corrections facilities

For more details, read the full report at PEWStates.org >>


Avery Klein is a digital and social media intern at Prichard Communications. She is from Springfield, Missouri where she attends Missouri State University and is studying public relations, advertising and promotions, and ethical leadership. She loves traveling, discovering new restaurants, social media and her two darling dogs.