State-Local Partnership in Ohio Cuts Juvenile Recidivism, Costs
Through RECLAIM Ohio, or Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to the Incarceration of Minors, the state enacted a comprehensive package of reforms to expand disposition options that would improve public safety and hold juvenile offenders accountable while reducing costs. The RECLAIM program supports community-based alternatives for juveniles, including those who would otherwise be committed to Department of Youth Services, or DYS, facilities and prompted the adoption of a statewide offender risk-needs assessment system.
- Authorizing legislation: House Bill 152 of 1993 created the RECLAIM program.2 After a successful trial in nine counties in 1994, RECLAIM was expanded statewide in 1995.
- Incentive funding: RECLAIM funds are allocated to counties through a statutory formula based on each county's average number of felony youth adjudications with deductions for each day a juvenile spends in a correctional facility rather than a community-based program. Exceptions are made for youth placed in a facility for certain serious offenses.3
- Program support: In fiscal 2012, county subsidies for juvenile justice programs included $30.6 million in RECLAIM funds and $16.7 million from the state’s Youth Services Grant initiative, supporting more than 600 programs that served nearly 110,000 youth.4 Between 1994 and 2013, the state provided more than $500 million in RECLAIM funds to counties.5
- Standardized tools: To better evaluate juveniles’ risk of reoffending and to match them with programs most likely to prevent recidivism, the state, in 2009, adopted the Ohio Youth Assessment System, standardizing a process that had used 77 different instruments across 88 counties.6
- Focused expansion: In fiscal 2010, the state launched a second phase of reform, Targeted RECLAIM, to boost efforts in six counties that accounted for most DYS admissions.7 Targeted RECLAIM was expanded to eight more counties in fiscal 2012.
- Evidence-based programs: Targeted RECLAIM provides funds for evidence-based programming to divert juvenile offenders from DYS and prohibits the use of funds for programs shown to be ineffective.8 Targeted RECLAIM is coordinated with a statewide Behavioral Health and Juvenile Justice Initiative, which provides home- and community-based interventions for youth with serious behavioral health needs.