House Proposal Would Eliminate Key JJDPA Funding

WASHINGTON — Funding that goes to states mainly for complying with a federal law designed to protect children in the juvenile justice system would be eliminated under a proposal to be marked up today by a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch

Lynch on Youth Violence: ZIP Code Must Not Decide Children’s Future

ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch served up some sobering statistics today at a national summit on preventing youth violence: More than three of five American children have been exposed to crime, violence or abuse.

“This violence can take many forms and can occur virtually anywhere — from the streets of our neighborhoods to the far reaches of cyberspace; from the schools where our children learn their earliest lessons, to the homes where they should feel most secure,” Lynch said at the fourth National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif.

Provision Aims to Get ‘Smart on Juvenile Justice’

WASHINGTON — Tear down more state youth prisons, and spend the money saved on community-based alternatives to incarceration.

Doing so, juvenile justice advocates say, would reduce overall youth crime and recidivism, keep nonviolent offenders from being incarcerated, save states millions of dollars and help the juvenile justice system live up to its mission to rehabilitate, not mostly warehouse, youths.

Against this backdrop, the Obama administration is seeking in its fiscal year 2016 juvenile justice budget a $30 million initiative known as “Smart on Juvenile Justice.”

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.

Measure to Revamp JJDPA to be Introduced This Week, Grassley Says

WASHINGTON — The primary U.S. juvenile justice law, the 1974 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), would undergo its first major overhaul in two decades under a bill to be introduced this week. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the impending introduction of the bipartisan measure, co-sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., at a news conference at the National Press Club today. The JJDPA had originally been designed to protect youths in trouble with the law, preventing them from being housed with adult criminals, for instance. It was also meant to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice and bar detention of children for “status offenses” like skipping school. Status offenses are so named because they’re crimes only by virtue of the offender’s status of being a juvenile.

Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Panel Hearing Airs Whistleblowers’ OJJDP Concerns

“Last year, multiple whistleblowers contacted me about the Justice Department’s failure to follow the law,” said Grassley, R-Iowa, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “The whistleblowers allege that it is common knowledge among the states that the Justice Department did not take the four core requirements [of the law] seriously.”

Senate Judiciary Hearing to Focus on Whistleblower Claims, OJJDP Grants

WASHINGTON — Whistleblowers’ allegations that millions of dollars in federal juvenile justice grants went to states that jailed vulnerable youths with adults in violation of federal law will be scrutinized at a congressional hearing Tuesday.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearing will focus on a monthslong inquiry led by committee chairman Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.

Staying Connected: Keeping Justice-Involved Youth 'Close to Home' in New York City

Report Touts Benefits of NY’s ‘Close to Home’

For years, many juvenile offenders in New York City had been exiled to upstate facilities — hundreds of miles from families, schools and communities. This continued despite mounting evidence that keeping such youth closer to home improves the odds of reducing recidivism, continuing their progress in school through their local school systems and helping them successfully re-enter the community.