FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 24, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Act4JJ Coalition, the collective voice of more than 150 organizations nationwide, expresses disappointment over the U.S. House Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Committee failure to fund vital juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs for Fiscal Year 2017.
The vote to eliminate funding for FY 2017 comes on the heels of a decade of loss in funding for this measure. Last month, Senate appropriators recommended an increase in juvenile justice funding. The coalition thought the appropriators would, at a minimum, maintain FY 2016 levels. Today’s vote moves the needle further away from the targeted federal involvement that has historically provided national leadership to states in preventing youth from entering the justice system.
“For the second year in a row, the U.S. House Appropriators have defunded juvenile justice programming. It is disheartening to see this disinvestment in children and communities,” said Marcy Mistrett, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice, Act 4JJ Co-chair. “Federal spending for these discretionary programs—including juvenile justice funding for state programs keeps families and communities safer.”
Signed into law in 1974, the JJDPA is the nation’s primary federal juvenile justice law. It enables states to provide juvenile justice programs that offer the young people involved the support necessary for successful rehabilitation and re-entry into their communities.
Federal investments play an essential role in state juvenile justice efforts to protect youth. The coalition is concerned about the impact reductions in funding will have on states’ ability to serve youth.
“Federal juvenile justice programs need to be fully funded. Progress can’t be made if promises aren’t kept. We must have a national commitment to the rehabilitative purpose of the juvenile justice system; it is both cost effective and the morally right thing to do,” Marie Williams, Executive Director for the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Act 4JJ Co-chair.
Federal JJDPA funding has declined more than 50 percent since 2002, 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 youth who run away from home or break curfew out of locked custody; and address the racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.
For more information go to www.ACT4JJ.org.