Shaquita Ogletree
The Department of Justice FY 2019 budget request includes $229.5 million for the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Juvenile Justice Programs. Funding for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention has declined to the lowest levels due to drastic budget cuts in recent years. Funding levels in recent years have strained programs to a fraction of their high mark in FY 2002 target. Investments in federal juvenile justice programs serve as the key resources for communities to prevent juvenile delinquency and to appropriately help those youth who do come in contact with the criminal justice system.

OJP Juvenile Justice Programs, which supports a wide range of state and local programs designed to reduce risks of delinquency, enhance prevention efforts include:

• $58 million to support delinquency prevention and intervention efforts and make crucial juvenile justice system improvements under Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA);
• $17 million to help keep children and youths out of prison by funding critical prevention and intervention programs under Title V of the JJDPA;
• $58 million for youth mentoring programs—which need to be strategically focused on delinquency prevention and support for court-involved children and families, but currently are broadly defined.
Other noteworthy programs include $58 million for Second Chance Act funding the Second Chance/Offender Reentry and Victims of Child Abuse. The Second Chance Act programs are intended to reduce violent crime and improve public safety. Grants help state, local, and tribal corrections and public safety agencies to implement a variety of reentry services to help those returning to communities after a prison or jail sentence. Services include housing, education and employment assistance, substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, mentoring relationships and family support services.

In addition to Juvenile Justice funding, budget requests include funds to combat the opioid epidemic at $20 million for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP) and $43 million for the Drug Court Programs. These grants are getting more attention in light of opioids. Funding is used to provide an alternative to incarceration for drug-addicted persons and is an effective justice intervention to addressing opioid addictions through treatment and services. The COAP supports efforts to reduce opioid misuse and the number of overdose fatalities, as well as prescription drug monitoring program.

Act 4 Juvenile Justice Coalition is recirculating an April 2017 letter, updated to reflect the current situation. To sign onto the letter, please click here. Only organizational names will be included on the letter. The deadline for signing is Friday, February 23.