Programs that help former prisoners return to their communities and become productive citizens will receive $62 million in grants from the U. The awards include: $176,000 to help four jurisdictions plan juvenile reentry programs; nearly $3 million for five community programs to reduce long-term alcohol and substance abuse among youth; and $6.5 million for 10 jurisdictions to implement reentry programs that provide comprehensive services for juveniles.

More than four in 10 offenders nationwide return to state prison within three years of their release, according to a 2011 report by the Pew Center on the States.

The report noted that states spend more than $50 billion a year on corrections but could save more than $635 million combined annually by reducing recidivism rates by 10%.

The study’s authors recommended preparing prisoners for their eventual release as soon as their incarceration begins and creating incentives for offenders to succeed.

The number of inmates in the nation’s state and federal prisons fell by 1.7% from 2011 to 2012, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in July 2013.

Criminal justice experts cite changes in state and federal sentencing guidelines for nonviolent and other low-level offenders as part of the reason for reductions in the prison population.

Many states also have set up diversion programs and eased sentences for parole violators, no longer sending them back to prison automatically.

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Listenbee, administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, said in a November 2013 press release.

The grant awards drew praise from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“Helping formerly incarcerated people obtain access to housing, employment, and other services that they need to reenter society is smart justice,” Laura W.

Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said in a statement.