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Barriers Bigger than Ever

Imagine coming home to nothing. No clothes that fit, no wash cloths, no soap and on top of all of that you enter your community in the middle of a pandemic. COVID-19 has added to the challenges for youths leaving juvenile justice facilities by making it difficult to purchase certain items such as toilet paper and groceries.

Performance-based Standards (PbS) tries to ease youths transition, recognizing the even greater needs this year, PbS awarded all 10 young people who applied for reentry assistance with a $500 gift card at the department store of their choice.

“I will use this money to buy clothes for when I’m back in the community I’m going home to nothing so ill also get wash cloths and stuff for my house.” MN

Most of the 2020 Reentry Award applicants simply asked for items people should not have to go without. It broke my heart to have to read so many applicants ask for basic necessities. Items they asked for:

  • Toilet paper
  • Water
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Hygiene products
  • Groceries

These youths weren’t just asking for necessities for themselves; they also wanted to help their caretakers at home. The impact of not having these items can be a family being cold at night with not enough blankets, a child not having a towel to bathe with, a family not able to eat enough, days without soap to shower with, no hand soap to wash away germs, or no clean drinking water for the grandmother who has custody of the youth just released.

The youths we serve thrive even in times of hardship. All are worthy of this award, and thanks to the PbS Education and Employment Foundation and its generous donors, all who applied are recipients. PbS hopes to raise money to offer a second round of additional support before the end of the year.


Read more about:  Reentry, Foundation

About the author

Jaclyn Cirinna

Jaclyn Cirinna

The PbS Youth Coordinator position was created in 2019 to ensure PbS’ work includes input and feedback from the youths we serve. The first coordinator was hired thanks to support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is focusing on initiatives to grow the Education and Employment Foundation to reach more youths.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.