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Federal Update - March 2018

March 26, 2018
Melissa Goemann

Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA)

Both the House and Senate passed JJDPA reauthorization bills this year with overwhelming bipartisan support (S. 860 and H.R. 1809). We believe they are close to agreement on compromise language so the bill can earn final approval. Thank you to all our members, allies, and partners who have continued to fight for reauthorization – including many who made in-district visits with their congressional offices last month.

NJJN was also thrilled to meet some young advocates from our Maryland member, CLIA, who came to Capitol Hill on February 14th to advocate for the JJDPA. The youth advocates, Antoine and Keante, are pictured below with their congressman, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, and CLIA staff Sarah Wall and Carlton Bradshaw.

See our JJDPA Snapshot if you need more detailed information on what the JJDPA is and why it matters. And please continue to follow Twitter Tuesday action steps!

Juvenile Justice Funding

On March 23, 2018, Congress passed H.R. 1625, the $1.3 trillion FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, and it was signed into law by the President. This bill provides a slight increase in funding over FY 2017 levels for key provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).

  • Title II – State Formula Grants
    The omnibus provides $60 million for Title II of the Act, up from $55 million in FY 2017. 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
    The omnibus provides $27.5 million for Title V of the Act, up from $17.5 million in FY 2017; however, that increase is partially due to new line items in the bill, including $8 million to fund an opioid-affected youth initiative.

H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 

NJJN remains concerned about H.R. 4909, the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018, introduced on January 30, 2018. H.R. 4909 seeks to reauthorize the 2001 Secure Our Schools program through the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The bill would authorize $50 million annually for state and local schools to fund training to prevent student violence; to develop and operate an anonymous reporting system for threats of school violence; to develop and operate school threat assessment and intervention teams; to coordinate with local law enforcement; and to invest in any additional measures to improve school security. We are concerned that this effort is misguided, duplicative, and may be harmful to all students. Some specific areas of concern are the following:

  • Lack of due process protections in place for students against whom an anonymous report is made.

  • Implementing school threat assessment and intervention teams in conjunction with law enforcement agencies could serve to expand the school-to-prison pipeline, which we know disproportionately impacts students of color and students with disabilities.

  • The bill opens the grant availability to all schools, rather than just public schools. Including private schools and charter schools in this legislation is especially dangerous. Due process requirements mandated by the U.S. Constitution to protect students who are being suspended or expelled do not apply to private schools.

We will continue to follow the progress of this bill and provide you with updates and action steps to take as needed.

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 our last newsletter in mid-January and see the federal policy page of our website for a complete list:

3/20/18 – March for Science letter to Congress calling for the support for funding for gun violence research.

3/12/18 - H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 – organizational sign-on letter opposing this Act for being misguided, duplicative, and harmful to all students.

3/5/18 – Criminal justice stakeholder sign-on letter for FY18 and FY19 strong justice assistance funding. Send to Appropriations Committee Chairpersons and Ranking Members Cochran, Shelby, Culberson, Frelinghuysen, and Ranking Members Leahy, Shaheen, Lowey, and Serrano.

2/28/18 - FY19 Funding Request of $95 million for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) Program. Safer Foundation. Letter sent to Committee on Appropriations Chairs and Ranking Members for the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

2/13/18 – Dream floor debate sign-on letter sent to Members of Congress seeking permanent protections for Dreamers and calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act without further delay.

2/9/18 – Letter to U.S. Dept.  of Health and Human Services Sec. Azar asking that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) withdraw the Jan. 11th guidance and immediately discontinue waiver approvals for state waivers that include work requirements.

2/8/2018 – Byrne JAG stakeholder support letter. Letter to the President and the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate seeking strong funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program (Byrne JAG).

2/8/18 -  Act4JJ letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the CJS Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations seeking full funding for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs for FY19.

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.

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