Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Legislative Watch: Reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA)

(JJDPA) - 'The Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2009 is up to be reauthorized through FY2014; it is an Amendment to the same Act of 1974.

In Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter is a co-sponsor of this Bill. Contact him and encourage him to stick with it. Take the time to learn more about juvenile justice and the Pipeline to Prison.

Here's what it does:

Requires the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Office) to include in the annual report of the Office information on juveniles held in state and local secure detention and correctional facilities, the treatment of status offenders (e.g., runaways, truants), and evidence based programs for juvenile delinquency prevention.

Expands requirements for state plans under the Act to require:

(1) statewide compliance with the core requirement of the Act for protection of incarcerated juveniles;

(2) alternatives to detention for juveniles who are status or first-time minor offenders;

(3) use of community-based services to address the needs of at-risk youth;

(4) programs to improve the recruitment, selection, training, and retention of professionals working in juvenile delinquency prevention programs; and

(5) the identification of racial and ethnic disparities among juveniles in the juvenile justice system.

Eliminates as a requirement under the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Block Grant Program evidence that Indian tribe grant applicants perform law enforcement functions.

Authorizes the Administrator to make incentive grants to state and local governments for juvenile delinquency prevention programs, including evidence based programs for the prevention and reduction of juvenile delinquency, personnel recruitment and training, and mental health and substance abuse screening and treatment. Includes mentoring programs as a permissible grant purpose under the Incentive Grant Program for Local Delinquency Prevention. Reauthorizes such grant program through FY2014.