For years, the Act-4-JJ Campaign has called for budget recommendations that would more accurately represent how important the federal investments in state juvenile justice efforts are to protecting youth and promoting community safety. Federal JJDPA funding has declined more than 50 percent, including an 80 percent decrease in Title V funding—the only federal program that provides delinquency prevention funding at a local level. These funds support state systems that protect children from the dangers of adult jails and lockups; keep status offenders out of locked custody; and address the racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. In addition, we made recommendations to the Administration to fund delinquency prevention, juvenile accountability, and community-based violence prevention efforts.
On February 12, the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)—the nation’s main law that sets standards and protections for state juvenile justice programs—very nearly passed in the Senate. One lone member of the U.S. Senate held up passage of this bill that is more than eight years overdue for reauthorization. This bill make common sense for public safety and for the fairness and effectiveness of state juvenile justice programs. It is crucial that we highlight the importance of this landmark law.
As Washington unburied itself from the worst blizzard in nearly 100 years, juvenile justice continued to dig its way toward reform with both the judicial and executive branches making critical announcements this past Monday.