Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $999,442)
Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program
Application: Category 1, Subcategory 1c
BJA funding will enable the Nez Perce Tribe to build youth resiliency to opioids, stimulants and substance abuse through establishment of a Youth Diversion Program on the Tribe's reservation (pop. 18,854), an area of 1,208 square miles in north central Idaho.
The region is characterized by persistent poverty and widespread substance abuse and the opioid epidemic and is recognized nationally as a base for supremacists of varying factions, many of whom target youth to engage in substance abuse and delinquent behavior.
A survey of Nez Perce Tribal Court records focused on outcomes for non-violent juvenile offenders charged with alcohol/drug offenses indicated a high percentage of non-violent Nez Perce youth who re-offended were charged with violent crimes in subsequent offenses—often multiple crimes—before they reached age 18.
The high prevalence of alcohol and drug use among tribal youth on the Nez Perce Reservation and the high rate of juvenile recidivism, particularly for initially-low-risk offenders whose criminal behavior escalates, indicate a critical need for the Tribe to take steps to increase youth resiliency to using illicit substances and to provide alternatives to incarceration as a means of helping offenders rebuild their lives.
The project represents a collaboration among the Tribe's Behavioral Health Program, the Tribal Prosecutor's Office, and the Nez Perce Tribal Police. Activities over three years will consist of the following:
Establish a Youth Diversion Program through a multi-disciplinary team effort to provide an alternative to jail for juveniles;
Establish a full time Youth Diversion Program Coordinator for three years within the Prosecutor's Office;
Establish a full time Youth Life Skills Coach within Nimiipuu Health Behavioral Health;
Provide youth activities to build resiliency, such as regalia making, cultural workshops, personal finance, outdoor skills, etc.;
Establish a full time Youth Law Enforcement Officer within Nez Perce Tribal Police for three years to serve as a positive mentor to Tribal youth and to help prevent substance abuse among youth;
Provide funding to the Tribal Court and Behavioral Health in order to authorize residential treatment for those with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.