Home News Center Federal Juvenile Justice Update - January 2021

Federal Juvenile Justice Update - January 2021

January 28, 2021
Melissa C. Goemann



Priorities for the Biden/Harris Administration, #First100Days

As the Biden/Harris Administration begins, we are hopeful for renewed progress on youth justice and racial justice issues at the federal level. Last month, the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), of which NJJN is a part, published “The Future of Youth Justice 2021: A Policy Platform for the Biden/Harris Administration” recommending actions that the Administration take in the first 100 days. The key components are the following:

  • Coordinating DOJ COVID-19 guidance with the President’s task force on COVID-19 by immediately rescinding the harmful 2020 COVID-19 guidance from OJJDP and issuing new guidance that is consistent with health care experts.
  • Supporting a full and robust implementation of the JJDPA.
  • Reducing youth incarceration.
  • Reinstating and updating key guidance protecting youth.
  • Removing youth from adult courts, jails, and prisons.
  • Investing in youth in their communities.
  • Centering federal youth justice policy on directly-impacted youth and their families.
  • Ensuring fairness and equity for justice-involved youth.
  • Investing in primary prevention.
  • Improving conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth.
  • Supporting youths’ re-entry from the justice system.
  • Establishing Youth Justice Action Month.

We urge you to share #First100Days demands with the administration to protect young people in the youth justice system and continue to follow the Twitter Thursday actions lifting up these demands. 

Biden’s Executive Orders

President Biden has issued a number of Executive Orders impacting racial and criminal justice including the following:  

  • Order promoting racial equity

On Biden’s first day, he signed an order to establish administration-wide policies to promote racial equity across the U.S. and overturn Trump’s ban on diversity training. The order also overturned Trump’s controversial 1776 Commission which had been established to create “patriotic education” in public schools and was viewed by many as perpetuating racist ideas.

  • Eliminate use of federal private prisons

On January 26th, Biden signed an order directing the Justice Department to phase out the federal use of private prisons.

We urge you to continue to support NJJN’s campaign to end for-profit youth prisons.

Juvenile Justice Appropriations

Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2021 budget in late December and it included slight increases in youth justice funding as follows:

  • $67 million for Title II (up from $63 million in 2020);
  • $49 million Title V (up from $42 million) including $10 million for tribal youth;
  • $3 million for girls.
  • $100 million for mentoring (up from $97 million); and
  • Indigent defense stable at $2.5 million.  

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:

  • December 17, 2020 – Signed Open Society Foundation sign-on letter to the Biden/Harris administration urging them to addressing school discipline and reverse many of the flawed and racist policies and actions of the Trump administration on public education.
  • December 9, 2020 – Signed Unlock the Box’s transition letter to the Biden/Harris administration urging them to make ending solitary confinement an early priority.
  • December 3, 2020 – Signed letter to Senator Warren and Rep. Pressley in support of the COVID-19 in Corrections Data Transparency Act (S. 4536/H.R. 7983). The bill requires the collection and reporting of key data on the spread and effect of coronavirus within all of the nation’s correctional facilities.
  • December 1, 2020 – Signed Children Thrive Action Network’s (CTAN) federal transition priority recommendations regarding the wellbeing of children of immigrants to be shared with the Biden-Harris transition team. These federal transition recommendations lay out shared priorities for COVID relief and early actions across immigration enforcement, health, education, nutrition, and economic security. 

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