Aftercare can be defined as reintegrative services that prepare out-of-home placed juveniles for reentry into the community by establishing the necessary collaboration with the community and its resources to ensure the delivery of prescribed services and supervision (Altschuler and Armstrong 2001).
Some 100,000 juvenile offenders each year leave out-of-home placements and must reintegrate back into the community while overcoming obstacles that threaten a successful and effective reentry process (Barton 2006). Though there is no national recidivism rate for juveniles, state studies have shown that rearrest rates for youth within 1 year of release from an institution average 55 percent, while reincarceration and reconfinement rates during the same timeframe average 24 percent (Snyder and Sickmund 2006). There is a definite need to provide systematic aftercare services that are designed to address reentry issues, including reoffending, that may affect a juvenile offender’s reintegration back into society (Mears and Travis 2004; Altschuler 2008).
The term aftercare, however, is somewhat of a misnomer because the process does not simply begin after an offender is released. A comprehensive aftercare process typically begins after sentencing and continues through incarceration and into the period of release back to the community. Aftercare requires the creation of a seamless set of systems across formal and informal social control networks as well as the creation of a continuum of community services to prevent the recurrence of antisocial behavior. It can also involve public–private partnerships to expand the overall capacity of youth services.
There are two key components to the aftercare concept that distinguish it from the traditional handling of juvenile offenders. First, youthful offenders must receive services and supervision. Second, juvenile offenders must receive intensive intervention while they are incarcerated, during their transition to the community, and when they are under community supervision. This component of the aftercare model redefines the concept of reintegrative services to include not only an examination of what takes place after release but also of what takes place before release into the community.
| About OJJDP
| Contact Us