Home News Center Federal Juvenile Justice Update - July 2021

Federal Juvenile Justice Update - July 2021

July 30, 2021
Melissa C. Goemann

House Appropriations Committee Approves Strong Funding for Youth Justice 

We urge you to complete this action alert asking your members of Congress to invest in youth and fully fund the JJDPA.

On July 15ththe U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2022 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill (H.R. 4505on a 33-26 vote. The CJS bill provides $494 million in funding for the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and related programs which is an increase over the current $359 million in funding for these programs. The bill may be on the House floor this week.  Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Committee may be marking up the Fiscal Year 2022 bills soon.

Thank you to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice for the following breakdown of the FY22 House CJS bill and comparison to the President’s proposal: 

House CJS 

  • $80,000,000 for programs authorized for Title II – of the amounts provided under this paragraph, $500,000 must be for a competitive demonstration grant program to support emergency planning among State, local, and Tribal juvenile justice residential facilities; 

  • $110,000,000 for youth mentoring grants; 

  • $60,000,000 for Title V delinquency prevention programs of which, pursuant to sections 261 and 262 of the 1974 Act— (A) $6,000,000 shall be for grants to prevent trafficking of girls; (B) $14,000,000 shall be for the Tribal Youth Program; (C) $500,000 shall be for an Internet site providing information and resources on children of incarcerated parents; (D) $9,000,000 shall be for competitive grants focusing on girls in the juvenile justice system; (E) $12,000,000 shall be for an initiative relating to youth affected by opioids, stimulants, and other substance use; and (F) $10,000,000 shall be for an initiative relating to children exposed to violence; 

  • $40,000,000 for programs authorized by the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990; 

  • $109,000,000 for missing and exploited children programs, including as authorized by sections 404(b) and 405(a) of the 1974 Act; 

  • $5,000,000 for child abuse training programs for judicial personnel and practitioners, as 22 authorized by section 222 of the 1990 Act; 

  • $10,000,000 for a program to improve juvenile indigent defense; 

  • $50,000,000 for an initiative relating to alternatives to youth incarceration;   

  • $10,000,000 for a community violence intervention initiative; and   

  • $20,000,000 for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program as authorized by part 7 R of title I of the 1968 Act.

President's Proposal 

  • Title II: increase from $67 million in FY21 to $250 million; 

  • Youth Mentoring: increase from $100 million to $120 million; 

  • Title V: $100 million, including $10 million to prevent trafficking of girls (currently 2 million); $30 million for tribal nations (currently $10 million); $500,000 for an internet site to provide information of children of incarcerated parents; $15 million for girls in the justice system (up from $3 million); $16 million for opioid affected youth (up from $10 million); $18 for children exposed to violence (up from $8 million); $10.5 million for Youth PROMISE grants; 

  • $6 million (up from $3.5 million) to train judges on child abuse; and  

  • $40 million (up from $2.5) to improve indigent defense for youth.  

First Step Implementation Act 

The First Step Implementation Act of 2021 (S.1014), a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), would end juvenile life without parole in the federal system by providing release eligibility after twenty years to children who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offense. The individual would need to demonstrate to a judge that they posed no safety threat and that the interests of justice warranted a sentence modification.   

See these videos of impacted individuals and advocates discussing why it’s important to pass the bill: 

Donnell Drinks video on Twitter Facebook - Instagram 

Actions to take:  

  • Click here to send an email to your Senator telling them to end juvenile life without parole. 

  • Send this sample tweet: The U.S. is the only country in the world where children as young as 13 are sentenced to die while incarcerated. Young people deserve a true chance at redemption. Urge your Senators today to support the First Step Implementation Act.  #EndJLWOP https://repjustice.org/firststep 

Bipartisan Criminal Legal Reform Bill Package for Children 

On July 20th, NJJN partnered with Human Rights for Kids and several other national organizations to lead an Advocacy Day in support of a bipartisan package of legislation, which includes H.R. 2858 by Congressman Bruce Westerman (R- AR), H.R. 2908 by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D- CA), and H.R. 2834 by Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D- CA). This legislative package is intended to create more equitable, trauma-informed, and age-appropriate measures for children who come into contact with the federal criminal justice system.  

Prior to Advocacy Day, there were two powerful listening sessions on these issues: 

  • If you were unable to attend Treat Kids Like Kids: Why Congress Must Prioritize Criminal Justice Reform for Childrenclick this link to view it.  

  • You can see Locking Up Child Sex Crime Victims: How Our Criminal Legal System Fails Our Most Vulnerable Youth by clicking here.  

American Rescue Plan Funds Available for Virus Mitigation in Youth Facilities 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the CDC, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, is distributing $700 million from the American Rescue Plan to states and localities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in confinement facilities, including those for youth. The funds will allow facilities to implement COVID-19 diagnostic and screening programs for those who are incarcerated, staff, and visitors and can be used for other activities including COVID-19 contact tracing, isolation and quarantine strategies, infection control practices, and education and training on ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  

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: 

  • June 29, 2021 – Sign-on letter in support of the Medicaid Reentry Act (S.238), a bipartisan bill that would permit Medicaid to cover health services 30 days before an individual is released from prison or jail.  This change would improve continuity of care and improve access to critical and sometimes life-saving health services upon and during reentry for many incarcerated people nationwide. 

  • July 1, 2021 – Sign-on letter in support of the confirmation of Catherine Lhamon to be the next Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (OCR) at the United States Department of Education (ED). Ms. Lhamon currently serves at the White House Domestic Policy Council where she is the Deputy Director for Racial Justice and Equity, managing the President’s equity policy portfolio. Ms. Lhamon also previously served as OCR Assistant Secretary under President Obama. 

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