Home News Center Federal Juvenile Justice Update - January 2018

Federal Juvenile Justice Update - January 2018

January 30, 2018
Melissa Goemann

Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA)

The JJDPA is more than ten years past due to be reauthorized. This essential bill provides federal guidance and standards to ensure a minimum level of safety and equitable treatment for youth as well as data on youth in juvenile justice systems across the country, a federal agency to provide support to states and localities, funds for community-based options and systems changes, state-level oversight bodies and more. We are now closer than we have been in a long time to reauthorizing this legislation. Both the House and Senate passed JJDPA reauthorization bills this year with overwhelming bipartisan support (S. 860 and H.R. 1809).  Now, differences in the two bills have to be resolved by the House and Senate before they can send it to the President.

Starting in January, Act4JJ, (a coalition in which NJJN participates), began a two-month push to get the JJDPA across the finish line. It began with young people going to Capitol Hill on January 16th to drop off #JJDPA matters postcards to more than 30 Senators and meet with Senate staff. The last two weeks of January, Act4JJ organized a social media campaign around youth voices in support of the JJDPA. You can encourage young people to advocate for JJDPA by going to this link.

In February, we are encouraging advocates to meet with co-sponsors of the JJDPA bills in their home district offices (“in-district” meetings). See our JJDPA Snapshot for more detailed information on what the JJDPA is and why it matters. Also, be on the lookout for more resources to help you make in-district visits with key congressional offices and make your voice heard!

New OJJDP Administrator

Caren Harp was sworn in as the next Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) on January 19, 2018. An Arkansas native, Ms. Harp spent 3 years as a trial attorney for the Arkansas Public Defender Commision and 20 years working as a deputy prosecutor in Arkansas. She has served as chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in New York City’s Family Court and as director of the National Juvenile Justice Prosecution Center at the American Prosecutors Research Institute. She is currently a member of the American Bar Association’s Juvenile Justice Standards Task Force, and the National Steering Committee for the Vision 21 Project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Ms. Harp served for five years as an associate professor of law at Liberty University School of Law. Ms. Harp authored this op-ed on adolescent brain science for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) in May, 2017.

National Sign-on Letters

Youth involved with the justice system often intersect with other systems such as child welfare, immigration, public health, and housing. Understanding that the pursuit of justice cannot be siloed, NJJN signs onto national letters in support of intersectional issues. As a regular part of this newsletter, NJJN will list the letters that we have supported since the last newsletter. Please see below for the national letters that NJJN signed since January 1, 2018, and see our website for the campaigns we supported in 2017:

1/24/18 - Letter to Congress urging adequate funding for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs and opposing efforts to make deep cuts in these programs. NDD United.

1/18/18 – Letter to Sec. Nielsen, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, condemning the targeting of immigrant rights leaders and individuals associated with the sanctuary movement. National Immigrant Justice Center.

1/16/18 – Urgent appeal to Sec. Nielsen, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, to halt plans to separate children from parents when they arrive at or are found near the U.S. border.

1/11/18 – Letter in support of the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program. National Criminal Justice Association. Letter not yet released.

1/5/18 - Joint statement in opposition to HUD’s suspension of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. The regulation provided jurisdictions with a roadmap and tools for compliance and included measures for accountability. National Fair Housing Alliance.

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