On October 3, 2002, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 was reauthorized by Congress, ending a six year long battle over the legislation. HR 2215 also reauthorized JAIBG. It is expected to be signed by the President.

The purposes of the JJDP Act are:

  • to support state and local programs that prevent juvenile involvement in delinquent behavior;
  • to assist state and local governments in promoting public safety by encouraging accountability for acts of juvenile delinquency; and
  • to assist state and local governments in addressing juvenile crime through the provision of technical assistance, research, training, evaluation and the dissemination of information on effective programs for combating juvenile delinquency.

MANDATES

The JJDP reauthorization essentially maintains the core mandates of the Act. They are:

  • Deinstitutionalization of status offenders. Retains current prohibition on detaining status offenders in secure facilities;
  • Separation of adults and juveniles in institutions;
  • Removal of juveniles from jails, lockups, and other adult facilities; and
  • DMC. Requires states to address prevention and systemic efforts to reduce the disproportionate representation of minorities that come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

However, there are some provisions that provide exceptions to the core requirements. For example, runaways can be held longer in secure confinement to provide for family reunification purposes as specified in the Interstate Compact on Juveniles; and juveniles in rural areas can be held 48 hours (instead of the present 24 hours) in a adult facility.

The compliance requirements have been changed to provide that a state that fails to comply with a core requirement will be penalized by 20% of the state’s formula grant allotment and must use 50% of the remaining funds to come back into compliance. Current law ties 100% of a state’s formula grant to compliance and if the state fails to comply with any requirement 25% of the allocation is forfeited and the remaining funds must be used to reach compliance with the core requirements.

TITLE II

In addition, the legislation provides for the continuation of formula grant funds (Title II) to the states; provides that child welfare records must be shared with the Court; and juveniles brought into the system for the violation of a valid court order must be interviewed and assessed by a public child serving agency within 48 hours of intake. Several new focus areas for funding are included:

  • Programs to provide mental health services to juveniles;
  • Programs that provide post placement services to juveniles;
  • Programs that provide mentoring, counseling and training opportunities for juveniles; and
  • Programs to expand the use of probation to allow nonviolent offenders to remain in the community.

It maintains previous focus areas, including hate crime prevention programs, programs to provide counsel to juveniles and programs to provide services to females in the juvenile justice system.

TITLE V

The legislation retains Title V, incentive grants (matching funds) for local delinquency prevention programs.

The administrator may make grants to the state to local units of government for delinquency prevention programs and activities for juveniles who have had contact with the juvenile justice system, including the provision of services to children and their families of:

  • alcohol and substance prevention services
  • tutoring and remedial education
  • child and adolescent health and mental health services
  • leadership and youth development activities
  • the teaching that people are and should be held accountable for their actions
  • assistance in the development of job training skills

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DELINQUENCY PREVENTION BLOCK GRANT

The legislation consolidates five program authorities to create a Delinquency Prevention Block grant that funds activities designed to prevent and reduce juvenile crime in communities which have a comprehensive juvenile crime prevention plan, including projects that provide treatment to juvenile offenders and juveniles who are at risk of becoming juvenile offenders. Activities may include (partial list):

  • Mentoring Family strengthening programs
  • Drug & alcohol abuse treatment programs Gang prevention programs
  • Job Training and Employment Recreation programs
  • Youth development programs Probation programs

Eligible recipients include community-based organizations, law enforcement agencies, local education authorities, local governments, social service providers and other entities with a demonstrated history of involvement in juvenile delinquency prevention.

FUNDING AUTHORIZATION for JJDP

The authorization is “such sums” for fiscal years 2003 through 2007.

In addition to the JJDP reauthorization, Congress also reauthorized the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JAIBG). The program was initially created in the FY98 Commerce Justice State Appropriations bill to provide states and units of local government with funds to develop programs to promote greater accountability in the juvenile justice system. Program purpose areas are expanded significantly to provide additional services and treatment for troubled youth, including:

  • implementing graduated sanctions programs that include counseling, restitution, community service, and supervised probation
  • establishing or expanding substance abuse programs
  • promoting mental health screening and treatment.
  • building, expanding, renovating or operating temporary or permanent juvenile detention, correction, or community corrections facilities;
  • hiring judges, probation officers and court appointed defenders and special advocates
  • establishing gun courts
  • establishing drug courts
  • establishing and maintaining programs to enable juvenile courts and juvenile probation officers to be more effective and efficient in holding juvenile offenders accountable and reducing recidivism.

(There are 16 activities provided in the reauthorization. The above are just a sample.)

FUNDING AUTHORIZATION for JAIBG

$350 million for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2005

Please check the web-site regularly. Additional information on the reauthorization will be provided in the next month.

The above information was provided in an e-mail from Marc Schindler, Youth Law Center and from the Congressional Conference Report.

Submitted by Donna Hamparian, President, Juvenile Justice Coalition