CWLA 2005 Children's Legislative Agenda
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
- Increase resources for effective juvenile justice and delinquency prevention initiatives.
Funding for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention has been targeted for drastic budget cuts in recent years. Three programs in particular have suffered the brunt of these cuts:
These programs provide vital resources for community initiatives to prevent delinquency and work with young people to keep them on the right track. These deep reductions in funding make it increasingly difficult for state and local initiatives to maintain adequate levels of effectiveness, especially when state and local budgets are being reduced as well.
- The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG) was reduced from $249.5 million in FY 2002 to $54.5 million in FY 2005.
- The Delinquency Prevention Block Grant (DPBG) received no funds for FY 2005.
- The Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Program was cut by more than half, to $46.5 million in FY 2003, and was only partly restored to $80 million in FY 2004, and $79.3 million in FY 2005. In addition, $60 million of the FY 2005 funds for Title V are earmarked for special purposes and therefore are not available for their intended purposes.
Further budget cuts will result in increased delinquency rates due to the elimination of proven effective rehabilitation and prevention services. These cuts will cause irreparable damage to the juvenile justice system, delaying or eliminating much-needed improvements to juvenile detention facilities.
Juvenile Accountability Block Grant
JABG was created in 1998 and for four subsequent years was funded at or near $250 million. JABG resources help ensure the smooth administration of the juvenile justice system by developing and administering accountability-based sanctions for juvenile offenders; hiring juvenile judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and court-appointed defenders; and funding pretrial services for juveniles.
JABG program areas have expanded to include implementing graduated sanction programs that consist of counseling, restitution, community service, and supervised probation; establishing or expanding substance abuse programs; and promoting mental health screening and treatment.
Funding for JABG was cut to $190 million in FY 2003, to $60 million in FY 2004, and to only $54.6 million in FY 2005. Between 1998 and 2002, JABG was the largest federal funding source for juvenile justice. Communities nationwide received funds and built successful programs. These initiatives are threatened today. States and communities simply cannot sustain cuts of this magnitude. Numerous programs will be closed, scaled back, or downsized and therefore will be less effective.
Delinquency Prevention Block Grant
DPBG was created as part of the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (P.L. 107-253) in 2002. The block grant is intended to fund activities to prevent and reduce juvenile crime in communities that have a comprehensive juvenile crime prevention plan.
In creating this new initiative, the President and Congress made a commitment to expanding treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention. In neglecting to fund DPBG for FY 2004 and FY 2005, these commitments have been rejected.
Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Program
Title V is the only federal funding source dedicated solely to delinquency prevention. It funds collaborative, community-based delinquency prevention efforts to reach youth in high-risk situations before they make bad choices. Title V brings together local participants in a comprehensive effort to reduce risk factors in children's environments while promoting factors that lead to healthy behavior. Prevention efforts that reduce risk factors or enhance protective factors maximize the chances of reducing juvenile delinquency and related problems and enable young people to transition successfully to adulthood.
Funded at or near $95 million from 1998 to 2002, Title V funding was slashed in 2003 by more than half, to $46 million. With numerous earmarks for special purposes, little more than $2 million was left to distribute to the states. In practical effect, Title V was eliminated in FY 2003, and dozens of effective community initiatives received no funding. Funding for Title V was partly restored for FY 2004 and FY 2005, but this still leaves a sizable gap in available resources.
- More young people will be left with no supervision during the afterschool hours of 3:00 PM-7:00 PM, when most juvenile violence occurs. 1
- Recent progress in lowering youth crime rates is threatened. In 2002, the juvenile arrest rate for Violent Crime Index offenses reached its lowest level since at least 1980. The rate, which grew substantially during the late 1980s and peaked in 1994, has decreased for eight consecutive years. In 2002, it was nearly half its 1994 peak level. 2
- Successful prevention programs are at risk of losing their funding. Students with a high level of participation in afterschool activities are less likely than nonparticipants to engage in problem behaviors, such as being arrested, taking drugs, smoking, and drinking. 3 For example, participation in the Quantum Opportunities Program, which is targeted toward low-income teenagers in several large American cities, led to fewer arrests among participants. 4
- Catalano, R.F.; Loeber, R.; & McKinney, K.C. (1999, October.) OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin: School and Community Interventions to Prevent Serious and Violent Offending. Retrieved online, January 9, 2005. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- Snyder, H.N. (2004, September). OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin: Juvenile Arrests 2002. Retrieved online, January 9, 2005. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- Eccles, J., & Gootman, J. (Eds.). (2002). Community programs to promote youth development (A report of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education). Retrieved online, January 8, 2005. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- Lattimore, C.B.; Mihalic, S.F.; Grotpeter, J.K.; & Taggert, R. (1998). Blueprints for Violence Prevention, Book Four: The Quantum Opportunities Program. Boulder: University of Colorado at Boulder, Center for the Study of Prevention of Violence.
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