Governor Tom Corbett unveiled a new plan today that will invest $10
million into proven prevention and intervention strategies for at-risk youth and
This strategy came out of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, established last year
to evaluate ways to enhance public safety through the most efficient and effective
use of limited state resources. It focuses on the Department of Public Welfare's
Youth Development Centers.
"As we examined our resources, we realized we needed to take a closer look at the
juvenile system," Corbett said. "If we can prevent at-risk youth from becoming
offenders, we can reduce the likelihood that they will spend time behind the bars of
our county and state prisons, costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year."
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Juvenile Court
Judges' Commission and the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) worked
collaboratively on the plan. It will redirect investments into:
· Effective prevention and intervention programs for at-risk children;
· Strengthening Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system through accurate risk
assessment and targeted interventions with high-risk juvenile offenders; and
· Training programs for juvenile offenders that will help move them into
"Our juvenile justice experts have presented a strong plan for the reinvestment of
these savings," Corbett said. "This money will help grow existing proven programs
which have already shown great results in helping communities and schools reduce
and prevent juvenile crime."
The plan entails the closure of the New Castle Youth Development Center, a secure
100-bed facility for delinquent boys. Referrals to the center have drastically
decreased over the last several years, with only 31 juveniles housed there as of
Jan. 1. The facility costs taxpayers more than $19.4 million annually, at a cost of
$725 per day per child. The closure of this center on Feb. 15 and relocation of its
residents will result in $73 million in taxpayer savings over five years.
A team from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) will be
assisting workforce development staff and local PA CareerLinks® in providing
services to make this transition as seamless as possible. The team will provide
information and assistance regarding unemployment compensation benefits, the
availability of COBRA to extend health care benefits, registration in the PA Job
Gateway (www.jobgateway.pa.gov) and many other services to help the 223
affected individuals become reemployed quickly.
Vacancies within DPW will also be temporarily frozen so that dislocated employees
from the center can be provided any opportunities to move to other positions.
The Departments of Community and Economic Development and General Services
will work together with local government, community and business organizations to
examine and market the property for resale or redevelopment.
"This is a reinvestment strategy that works for Pennsylvania," Corbett said. "But
we're also committed to minimizing impacts to the residents of Lawrence County
through a strong re-employment and economic development plan that will continue
to provide jobs for those in the surrounding region."
Under a larger strategy to achieve better outcomes for Pennsylvania's youth, the
initiative will continue to focus on the specific needs of children by using more
effective treatment and prevention methods toward the goal of reducing recidivism.
This will include assessing the individual risks and needs of each delinquent youth,
ensure community protection, and identify a continuum of high-quality, innovative
services for youthful offenders.
"We know the best way to prevent juvenile crime is through early identification and
intervention," Mark Zimmer, chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime
and Delinquency said. "This long-term strategy benefits Pennsylvania's at-risk
youth, while providing a greater return on taxpayers' investments."
For more information, visit www.pa.gov.