Beginning in 1994, Ohio implemented RECLAIM Ohio, a performance-based funding partnership between the state and local governments that expanded counties' use of effective, cost-efficient, community-based options for lower-risk juvenile offenders. The program has helped cut recidivism rates and saved the state millions of dollars.
As in most states, the juvenile justice population in Ohio grew rapidly during the late 1980s and early 1990s. By 1992, Ohio Department of Youth Services facilities had reached 180 percent of capacity.1 The state had few community-based alternatives to these crowded and expensive facilities, leaving judges with limited disposition options for youth offenders, even for minor offenses.
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.
By funding more effective community-based alternatives for juvenile offenders, RECLAIM saved Ohio as much as $45 for each $1 invested while improving public safety.9
1 E. Latessa and C.T. Lowenkamp (2009). Reclaiming Texas Youth: Applying the lessons from RECLAIM Ohio to Texas. Austin, TX: Texas Public Policy Foundation, http://www.texaspolicy.com/center/effective-justice/reports/reclaiming-texas-youth-applying-lessons-reclaim-ohio-texas.
2 See Ohio Admin. Code. Chapter 5139-67, http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/5139-67; Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §5139.41, 5139.43, and 5139.44, http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/5139.
3 For more information see Ohio Department of Youth Services website, http://www.dys.ohio.gov/dnn/Community/RECLAIMOhio/tabid/131/Default.aspx; B. Riley (2012). “Investing in Juvenile Justice Community Alternatives.” State Budgeting Matters (pp. 6-7). Columbus, OH: The Center for Community Solutions, http://www.communitysolutions.com/associations/13078/files/sbmV8N5InvestingInJuvJusticeAlternativesBRiley092412.pdf.
4 M. Wolniewicz (2011). LSC Greenbook: Analysis of enacted budget, Department of Youth Services. Madison, OH: Legislative Services Commission, http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/fiscal/greenbooks129/dys.pdf; Ohio Department of Youth Services (2012). Annual report, fiscal 2012. Columbus, OH, http://www.dys.ohio.gov/DNN/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=lTTbv3%2FXF%2Fw=&tabid=102&mid=544.
5 Budget allocation figures provided by Ohio's Department of Youth Services. March 2013.
6 E. Latessa, B. Lovins, and K. Ostrowski (2009). The Ohio Assessment System: Final report. Cincinnati, OH: Center for Criminal Justice Research, University of Cincinnati. http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/ccjr/docs/reports/project_reports/OYAS_final_report.pdf.
7 The six counties are Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Montgomery, and Summit.
8 See Ohio Admin. Code. Chapter 5139-67-04, http://codes.ohio.gov/oac/5139-67-04.
9 C.T. Lowenkamp and E. Latessa (2005). Evaluation of Ohio's RECLAIM funded programs, CCFs, and DYS facilities: Cost-benefit analysis, supplemental report. Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati, http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/ccjr/docs/reports/project_reports/Final_DYS_Cost_Benefit.pdf.
10 Admissions data provided by Ohio's Department of Youth Services. November 2012.
11 Statewide felony adjudication and commitment data provided by Ohio's Department of Youth Services. November 2012.
12 R. Gies (2012). Expanding the Community Continuum for Serving Youth: RECLAIM Ohio and Targeted RECLAIM. Presented at the JDAI Inter-Site Conference. Houston, TX, http://www.jdaihelpdesk.org/intersiteconf2012/State Initiatives to Reduce Juvenile Incarceration - Ohio (2012 Conference).pdf.
13 Ohio Department of Youth Services (2012). Annual report, fiscal year 2012.
14 Lowenkamp and Latessa. (2005). Evaluation of Ohio's RECLAIM funded programs, CCFs, and DYS facilities: Cost-benefit analysis, supplemental report.
15 Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility (2009); Freedom Center (2009); Mohican Juvenile Correctional Facility (2010); Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility (2011); National Juvenile Justice Network (2011). Bringing Youth Home: A National Movement to Increase Public Safety, Rehabilitate Youth and Save Money, http://www.modelsforchange.net/publications/297.
16 C.T. Lowenkamp and E. Latessa (2005). Evaluation of Ohio's RECLAIM funded programs, community corrections facilities, and DYS facilities. Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati, http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/ccjr/docs/reports/project_reports/Final_DYS_RECLAIM_Report_2005.pdf.
18 R.M. Labrecque and M. Schweitzer (2013). Targeted RECLAIM: University of Cincinnati Outcome Study. Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati, http://www.dys.ohio.gov/DNN/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=1UZwRTzl8U0=&tabid=211.