Blog: Philanthropy

New director leads Reclaiming Futures office in North Carolina

Jessica A. Jones to Lead Reclaiming Futures Office in North Carolina
Public-Private partnership expands proven treatment model in state juvenile courts
RALEIGH, N.C. (December 19, 2011) – Jessica A. Jones began work Thursday, December 15 at the North Carolina Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (DJJDP) as director of the new North Carolina office of Reclaiming Futures, a national organization that improves drug and alcohol treatment for young people in trouble with the law. Jones formerly served as research and evaluation director at the Down East Partnership for Children in Rocky Mount, N.C.
“We are delighted to welcome Jessica to this position,” said Secretary Linda Hayes of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “She brings the right set of management and data research skills to take Reclaiming Futures to statewide success and help as many teens as possible in North Carolina.”
“I am excited to join Reclaiming Futures and the North Carolina Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to help teens caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime,” said Jones. “North Carolina’s six existing Reclaiming Futures communities have made a positive difference in the lives of our state’s youth, and I look forward to working with them to spread the Reclaiming Futures model across the state.”
Jones will lead all aspects of the project, including strategic planning and implementation in addition to developing the capacity for four additional Reclaiming Futures sites in North Carolina. Her role includes project management and the duplication of the successful services of the national program office.
The nationally evaluated six-part Reclaiming Futures model – originally created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – provides alcohol and drug screening for all teens who enter the juvenile justice system, then develops a treatment plan and connects them with employers, mentors and volunteer service projects. An evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children found that the 10 Reclaiming Futures pilot communities reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment.

The crucial role of foundations in D.C. juvenile justice reform

Earlier this month, national and local foundations in the U.S., including the Open Society Foundations, met to discuss the future of juvenile justice in the District of Columbia and the findings of a new report, Notorious to Notable. The report shows how a collaborative effort between local D.C. foundations and national funders supported the positive transformation of the District’s juvenile justice agency by closing a notorious juvenile prison for court-involved youth and redirecting resources to community-based alternatives to incarceration. As a result of the effort, Harvard University's Kennedy School named the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services among the Top 50 Programs in its 2008 Innovations in American Government Awards competition.
The report chronicles the story with a detailed timeline of how the city in 2009 closed the Oak Hill Youth Center, a juvenile prison opened in 1967, that became the subject of a class action lawsuit, "Jerry M." over inhumane conditions of confinement. Foundations supported the creation of a new policy consensus, through the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Commission to reverse the District's over-reliance on incarceration and use of the notorious Oak Hill to warehouse over 300 youth on any given day.
With foundation support over a ten-year span, the District was able to realize the following accomplishments: