Home News Center Federal Juvenile Justice Update - July 2020

Federal Juvenile Justice Update - July 2020

July 29, 2020
Melissa C. Goemann

Covid-19 Relief Funds Needed for Justice-Involved Youth

With over 2,000 cases of COVID-19 in youth facilities across the country, it is critical that Congress include protections for justice-involved youth in the COVID-19 recovery package they are now negotiating. Please take action with the Act4JJ alert here, and then share with friends and networks.

On May 12, 2020, the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800, was introduced and passed in the House, authorizing $75 million in youth justice funding to the states in FY 2020 and 2021 which could be used to both safeguard youth still in facilities and provide funding for community supports to help them return home. However, the Senate Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, introduced on July 27th, does not contain any funding for justice-involved youth. The House bill also contained funding to help those confined in the adult system through mechanisms such as compassionate release and reintegration funding – all of which is absent in the Senate bill.

Please take the following actions – the first is directed towards youth and the second more generally for those in the criminal justice system:

1)    Urgent Action! Call on Congress to invest in youth in their next recovery plan.

  • To Share: There are over 2K cases of #COVID19 in juvenile facilities across the country — & that number is rapidly rising. The next federal COVID-19 response package must ensure young people are able to return safely to their families during this emergency. Act now: bit.ly/ActNow4JJ

2)    Email action - please share this COVID-19 take action link with your networks and ask individuals to email their members of Congress ASAP! The action will be live this week - the link takes you to an action center where you can email your members of Congress (based on your location).

National Sign-on Letters and Comments

Please see below for a list of the national letters that NJJN has signed since our last newsletter and see the federal policy page of our website for a complete list:

July 29, 2020 – Signed on to endorse the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act which prohibits federal funding of school-based law enforcement and provides funding for positive supports instead. Senators Murphy (D-CT) and Warren (D-MA) introduced the bill in the Senate and Representatives Omar (D-MN) and Pressley (D-MA) introduced the bill in the House.

July 28, 2020 – Signed on to endorse the FAMILIES Act, which would create a Parenting Sentencing Alternative (PSA) for parents and caregivers. Under the FAMILIES Act, federal judges would be able to divert parents and caregivers from incarceration into a comprehensive program that would better serve them, their families, and society by offering resources, services, and training that would meet their unique needs.

July 27, 2020 – Signed onto a letter organized by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, that asks Congress to honor the life of John Lewis by passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act and the election provisions of the HEROES Act.

July 8, 2020 – Signed onto a letter to Chairwoman Maloney, Chairwoman Lowey, and Ranking Members Comer and Granger, organized by Civil Rights Corps, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and other partner organizations. The letter expresses opposition to Operation Relentless Pursuit (ORP), a program that encourages the criminalization and over-policing of Black and Brown communities. The letter also urges Congress to evaluate the efficacy and racially inequitable effects of ORP.

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