For years, many New York City juvenile offenders were sent to upstate facilities hundreds of miles from families, schools and communities. That happened despite mounting evidence that keeping youth closer to home improves the odds of reducing recidivism, continuing their progress in school through their local school systems and helping them successfully re-enter the community. The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange says a report from John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center found promising early results of a city-state program called “Close to Home.”
Tthe program, which began in 2012, has helped youths maintain closer ties with families, schools and communities, all of which are viewed as vital to successful rehabilitation. “The things we do know are you accomplish nothing by putting a kid in a faraway facility,” said center director Jeffrey Butts. “There's no benefit to having them there. So you don't get anything from that.” Butts said it will take more research to determine whether Close to Home has reduced crime, because juvenile delinquency in the New York City area was declining years before the program began.