Letters to Lawmakers | June 25, 2020

Letter to Congress: Prioritize Resources to Prevent Juvenile Delinquency

Over 1,000 law enforcement leaders request the prioritization of resources to prevent juvenile delinquency

June 24, 2020

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national organization of over 5,000 law enforcement leaders, we respectfully request that you prioritize resources to prevent juvenile delinquency.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids represents police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors around the country working to implement evidence-based programs to keep our communities safe. Specifically, we are asking Congress to fully fund at the authorized level for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) Title II and Title V programs.

Fully funding JJDPA Title II programs will assist states to reach the goals of: developing alternatives to incarceration for juveniles committing status offenses (activities that would be not criminal if committed by an adult like truancy or violating curfew laws); removing juveniles from adult detention centers or, at the very least have no contact with adult inmates (sight and sound separation); and help states address systemic racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. In addition to these core responsibilities, states may also use these funds to phase out the use of restraints on pregnant juveniles, screen for human trafficking victimization, and screen and treat the mental health and substance abuse needs of youth in the care of the state’s juvenile justice system.

Title V funding prioritizes evidence-based programs through sub-grants to local law enforcement and community partnerships to reduce juvenile delinquency. This funding is critical in diverting juveniles into outcomes-based state and community-based programs to foster behavioral changes, rather than placing youth in detention centers. Local programs have focused on alcohol and substance abuse prevention or treatment services; tutoring and remedial education, especially in reading and mathematics; child and adolescent health and mental health services; and, leadership and youth development activities.

We, the members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, request that you support evidence-based programs for our youth and by fully funding JJDPA Title 2 and Title 5. This investment allows for federal-state-local collaboration that result in implementing interventions and programs proven to reduce youth crime rates, and re-set youth involved in the criminal justice system on the path to success.

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