CLASP's youth policy work aims to advance policy and practice that will dramatically improve the education, employment, and life outcomes for youth in communities of high youth distress. Learn more>>
We advocate for federal policies that meet the education and training needs of the millions of young people ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and employment. Read more>>
We work with communities to identify and highlight effective cross-system approaches that can provide opportunities for youth to complete their education, enter the labor market and improve their life outcomes. Read more>>
Jul 2, 2015 | PERMALINK »
Prioritize Prevention and Rehabilitation over Punishment: Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
Earlier this spring, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act (JJDPA). Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced a companion bill in the House. If passed, these bills would reauthorize JJDPA’s grant programs through FY 2020.
JJDPA funds programs supporting youth who are involved in—or are at risk of being involved in—the criminal justice system. Title II programs include prevention programs for at-risk youth, law enforcement and judicial training, mental health interventions, keeping youth out of adult jails and lockups, and keeping status offenders out of jail. Title V programs include the Tribal Youth Program and youth violence prevention and interventions.
JJDPA’s authorization expired in 2007. Since then, Congress has continued to appropriate funds, but the investment declines each year. For FY 2015, Congress funded Title II programs at $55.5 million and Title V programs at $15 million. Support for FY 2016 funding varies. The House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee eliminates funding for Title II and Title V in its FY 2016 budget. In the Senate, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (CJS) preserves Title II and Title V programs in its FY 2016 budget.
Continuing the JJPDA is critical for many reasons, including its requirement that states meet four core mandates: de-institutionalization of status offenders, addressing disproportionate minority contact, sight and sound separation of juveniles in adult facilities, and removal of juveniles from adult jails and lock-ups. While juvenile arrest rates have fallen and there are fewer youth incarcerated in deep-end residential facilitates (which more closely resemble prisons than residential treatment centers), the core mandates of JJPDA have not been fully met. Status offenders are still being locked up when they would be better served in community settings, and minority youth are still over-represented at nearly every level of the juvenile justice system.
According to the latest data from the Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report:
- 11 percent of juveniles in residential placements were held in the facility but were not charged with or adjudicated for abuse, neglect, emotional disturbance, or mental retardation.
- In 2010, on any given day, nearly 71,000 juvenile delinquents were in residential placement facilities. More than 6 in 10 juvenile offenders in residential placement were minority youth, with Black youth experiencing the highest rates.
For those youth involved in the system, JJDPA funding supports a variety of tailored services, including mental health care in community settings. With 70.4% of youth in the juvenile justice system meeting criteria for at least one mental health disorder, continued investment in mental health care is critical to reduce justice system involvement. Youth in juvenile justice facilities do receive some mental health services – in 6 of 10 facilities, in-house mental health professionals evaluated all youth held. However, residential placement is not the best environment for youth to receive mental health treatment; more than half of youth experience theft or violence while in placement. Several studies have shown that youth who are incarcerated are more likely to recidivate than youth who are supervised in a community-based setting or not detained at all.
South Dakota and West Virginia are two states showing leadership in juvenile justice reform—saving their states millions of dollars while reducing recidivism. Prioritizing incarceration for only the most serious and violent offenders, as well as expanding re-entry and treatment programs, will go a long way in increasing public safety while also helping at-risk youth. Much progress has been made since 1974 to protect system-involved youth. However, our work is far from done. JJDPA is still needed to influence and encourage states to prioritize prevention and rehabilitation over punishment. We urge Congress to reauthorize this vital law.
Investing in Young Men of Color as Community Assets
On July 17, join CLASP for its annual forum on boys and young men of color. "Investing in Young Men of Color as Community Assets" will highlight effective practices and policies that can close the gaps in education, employment, and health outcomes for boys and young men of color. Additionally, it will discuss targeted federal investments in communities of concentrated poverty and creating opportunities for boys and young men of color to thrive.READ MORE »
- Barry Shaffer | May 28, 2015 The Changing Landscape of High School Equivalency in the U.S.: Options, Issues, and Improvement Strategies
- Kisha Bird, Anna Cielinski, Judy Mortrude, and David Socolow | Apr 17, 2015 Promoting Economic and Career Success for Low-Income Youth and Adults: A Preview of the Proposed WIOA Regulations
- Rhonda Bryant | Feb 20, 2015 College Preparation for African American Students: Gaps in the High School Educational Experience
- Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success | Apr 02, 2015 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Draft Regulations Released
- Kisha Bird and Rhonda Bryant | Feb 04, 2015 The President’s Budget: Select Investments In Education and Employment Pathways for Vulnerable Youth
- Anna Cielinski and David Socolow | Jun 15, 2015 CLASP Comments to the Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) on WIOA Joint ED/DOL Proposed Regulations
- Kisha Bird and David Socolow | Jun 15, 2015 CLASP Comments on WIOA Title I Proposed Regulations
- Judy Mortrude | Jun 15, 2015 CLASP Comments on WIOA Title II Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Proposed Regulations
- Andrea Barnes, Kate O'Sullivan, Lori Strumpf | Jun 10, 2015 Webinar: Recruitment and Engagement for Out-of-School Youth
- Kisha Bird, Tyler Wison, Tamara Atkinson, David Clauss, Selena Yzaguirre | Jun 08, 2015 Webinar: Serving Out-of-School Youth Under WIOA: A Community Partnership Approach