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[Download Safely Home] [Executive Summary]
Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) released Safely Home, a report that highlights "bright spots," places around the country that have effectively used community-based programs to reduce youth incarceration. Safely Home draws upon a series of recent briefs by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center on the public safety and permanency outcomes of thousands of youth served by YAP, and a survey of 300 young people served by community-based programs instead of incarceration.
The findings are significant: more than 8 out of 10 youth remained arrest free and 9 out of 10 were at home after completing their community-based program, at a fraction of the cost to incarcerate these youth.
Safely Home notes that intensive community-based programs can serve three to four high-need youth safely in the community for the same cost as incarcerating one child and describes a dozen key elements of effective community-based alternatives, including individualized services, cultural competence, positive youth development, safety and crisis planning and no reject/no eject policies that promote unconditional caring.
We believe this report makes a strong case that we can and should reduce youth incarceration and that we must redirect dollars from costly out-of-home placements back to the community where kids and families can be more fully supported. If we redirect in this way, we will save money, have the greatest impact on public safety and youth will have the best chance to develop and succeed.
As we say in the report, anything that can be done in a youth prison or residential center can be done better in the community. We look forward to working with you to advance policies, practices and systems change so that together, we can bring more kids safely home.