Youth Aftercare & Reentry: Definition, Programs & Supervision

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  • 0:03 Youths and…
  • 1:24 Aftercare
  • 2:06 Reentry
  • 2:45 Approaches to Support
  • 3:42 Services and What Works
  • 4:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Leanne White

Leanne has a master's degree and an independent licensure in chemical dependency counseling. She has extended experience in corrections and post-secondary education.

No matter how long they spend in a correctional facility, juveniles are likely to return to criminal activity once released. To stop the cycle of offending, aftercare and reentry programs make an effort to provide ongoing support.

Youths and Correctional Facilities

What do juveniles do after being released from a correctional facility? How many return to their homes and schools? How many reoffend and end up incarcerated again? It's estimated that only about a third of juveniles return to school after their release and three quarters are arrested again within their first three years out of prison.

The goal of the juvenile justice system is to focus on rehabilitation, which means helping the juvenile return to normal life through treatment. Like with any goal, there are unfortunately times when the system does not succeed. Barriers, such as lack of funding, overcrowding in facilities, and large caseloads, can prohibit the system from providing adequate support and guaranteed services.

And even if correctional facilities provide the best treatment and make significant progress with regards to rehabilitating the juvenile, those who get released to their old environment are exposed to many of the challenges that resulted in their offending in the first place. This explains why juveniles are likely to reoffend shortly after release; however, with the use of ongoing support in the form of aftercare and reentry programs, juveniles are less likely to return to their old ways. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the ways that the juvenile justice system attempts to support offenders after their release from prison, with the knowledge that in practice, these things don't always happen.


Aftercare can be explained as post-release services and supervision that provide ongoing support to the recently released juvenile. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of recidivism (or reoffending). These services are intended for juveniles who were placed into confinement, including correctional facilities, residential treatment programs, camps, detention centers, and group homes. The services usually begin while the juvenile is still incarcerated so there is no lapse in support. Some programs even invite family members and professionals from outside sources into the facility to meet as a group. This ensures that everyone is familiar with and understands the juvenile's aftercare plan


Reentry is defined as entering back into the community after being confined. When juveniles re-enter their community, they're faced with a host of barriers, including difficulty finding employment, lapses in education, lack of family support, negative peers, struggles with mental health, and substance abuse. The juvenile justice system and related agencies play a huge role in supporting the released juvenile to increase the chance of success. Some institutions and programs have adopted a 'think exit at entry' mindset, meaning the juvenile works with a professional regarding his aftercare plan, beginning when he enters the institution's door.

Approaches to Support

Surveillance programs, such as parole, are designed to keep an eye on the released juvenile and to set limits and conditions. The amount of time a juvenile remains on parole is decided by the court, and not all juveniles will be placed on parole after being released. A number of factors contribute to being placed on parole, including the results of their disposition (sentence), type of offense, whether or not they are a repeat offender, and an early release.

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