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Federal Update - June

June 28, 2018
Melissa Goemann

Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA)

While both the House and Senate passed JJDPA reauthorization bills last year with overwhelming bipartisan support (S. 860 and H.R. 1809), full passage by Congress still remains frustratingly out of reach. We thank all of our many members and partners who have responded to Twitter Tuesday and made calls and visits advocating for the JJDPA. Your work is essential to keep attention on our young people and on this bill. Please keep up your continued advocacy for final passage of the JJDPA reauthorization – we are hopeful that it won’t be much longer!

Juvenile Justice Funding

The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act on June 14th, 2018. While the House Committee on Appropriations zeroed out funding for the JJDPA in their bill, H.R. 5952, the Senate’s bill provides a slight increase from the FY2018 omnibus bill. Total juvenile justice funding increased overall from $282.5 million to $297 million.

  • Title II (State Formula Grants) - increased from $60 million to $66 million
    Title II supports innovative state efforts to adhere to standards that reduce the risk of harm to court involved youth, ensure fair treatment of minority youth, improve the way systems address delinquent behavior, and ensure citizen involvement and expertise through the State Advisory Groups.
  • Title V (Local Delinquency Prevention Program) - increased from $60 million to $66 million
    Note that a new line item within Title V funding is $11 million for an initiative relating to children exposed to violence.

The Senate bill still needs to be approved by the full Senate and House. Note that funding for juvenile justice has dropped by over 50% since the JJDPA was last reauthorized in 2002.

The “Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018” or “STOP School Violence Act of 2018”

The Senate version of this bill (S. 2495) was added to the FY18 omnibus bill, H.R. 1625. It authorizes the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (referred to in this part as the ‘COPS Director’) and the Dept. of Justice’s Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to make grants to States, units of local government, and Indian tribes for various purposes related to attempting to prevent school violence. NJJN signed onto an organizational  letter expressing concerns with this bill for a number of reasons, including the bill’s provisions for funding for school systems to develop anonymous reporting systems that do not require due process protections to be put in place for students against whom an anonymous report may be made.

Promising Bills Introduced

  • Federal bill to abolish juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) introduced
    On June 5, 2018, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced HR 6011, to end extreme sentences for children, including life without parole, in the federal criminal justice system. It was sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-4) and co-sponsored by Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29), Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA-37), and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2).
  • At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act
    The Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously advanced Rep. Cárdenas’ bipartisan bill (H.R. 1925) to prevent youth from losing Medicaid coverage while in the justice system and the full committee reported it favorably with amendments.

National Sign-On Letters

Youth involved with the justice system often intersect with many other systems serving marginalized populations – such as child welfare, immigration, public health, and housing. To best serve our youth, NJJN signs onto a number of national letters on these issues throughout the year. Please see below for a list of the national letters that NJJN has signed since March and see the federal policy page of our website for a complete list:

6/18/18 – Organizational sign-on letter to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) objecting to their rollback in PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) housing protections for transgender people in BOP custody.

6/7/18 - Organizational sign-on letter calling upon Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to end the harmful and inhumane practice of separating immigrant children from their parents. Senator Wyden and Senator Murray, joined by 38 other Senators, called on the President to end this “cruel” policy and cited specifically to this letter as evidence of the groundswell of opposition to this practice.

5/24/18 – Organizational sign-on letter to Sec. Nielson, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, calling for the release of the unredacted memo referred to as the “Race Paper.”

5/18/18 - Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sign-on letter opposing the First Step Act (H.R. 5682) due to many concerns, including the omission of sentencing reform, the overbroad list of exclusions, and the dangerous risk assessment system it seeks to implement.

5/17/18 – Organizational sign-on letter expressing opposition for Rep. Turner's (R-OH) Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act. The bill includes strict work requirements for receiving housing benefits. on young adults aging out of foster care. National Low Income Housing Coalition.

5/15/18 – Organizational sign on letter to Congress urging them to reject the $15.3 billion rescissions package proposed by the Trump Administration.

5/8/18 – Organizational sign on to FY19 funding letter for federal innocence and forensic science programs that help to prevent, identify, and remediate wrongful convictions. Sent to leaders of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. 

5/1/18 - Organizational sign on letters to Senate and House leaders of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, asking them to fully fund the Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC) program in FY19. National PTA and the PACER Center.

4/11/18 – National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence letter to Congress to support strong federal funding for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA)

4/11/18 – Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee opposing efforts to advance "back end" only legislation and expressing concerns about the House version of prison reform, [H.R. 3356], the Prison Reform and Redemption Act.

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