Media > Newsletters > Criminal Justice Update > January 2013 > AG shares RECLAIM Ohio’s success
Criminal Justice Update
AG shares RECLAIM Ohio’s success
Attorney General Mike DeWine recently testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about RECLAIM Ohio, a successful juvenile justice reform initiative launched in the 1990s.
“RECLAIM Ohio has functioned as it was designed,” Attorney General DeWine told the committee, which is working to end the “school-to-prison pipeline” that sends a rising number of young people into the juvenile delinquency system as a result of school discipline.
The program, under then-Lieutenant Governor DeWine’s oversight, sought to place youths in settings best able to address their needs and reduce violence in state facilities.
“RECLAIM Ohio works because it avoids institutionalizing low-risk youths, instead keeping them with their families and peers, in their school and community,” he added.
Before RECLAIM Ohio — short for Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives for the Incarceration of Minors — some state facilities housed nearly twice as many youths as intended, good programming was scarce, and many incarcerated youths were simply learning criminal skills.
RECLAIM Ohio expanded alternatives to state incarceration by ensuring that if a juvenile stayed in the community, so did the funding.
As a result of the program and subsequent efforts, the Department of Youth Services population has dropped from more than 2,600 a decade ago to about 550 last year. Plus, every dollar spent to keep youths close to home saves up to $45 compared to the cost of sending them to a state facility.