Letters to Lawmakers | March 17, 2021

Letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids’ National Leadership Council members congratulate Hon. Merrick Garland on becoming the nation’s top law enforcement officer and ask him to prioritize juvenile recidivism and crime prevention programs in his first 100 days

The following letter was sent to the newly sworn-in U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. It was signed by twenty seven law enforcement leaders who make up the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids National Leadership Council. The signers congratulated Garland on his confirmation and commitment to serve as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer. And they urged the U.S. Department of Justice to prioritize funding for programs that help fight juvenile delinquency, such as afterschool programs and JJDPA-related programs, and to support state-federal partnerships crucial to the successful implementation of these programs.

March 12, 2021

Dear Attorney General Garland:

On behalf of Fight Crime Invest in Kids, an organization of more that 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and other law enforcement executives who work to forge solutions to reduce crime and support healthy child and youth development, please accept our congratulations and our appreciation for your commitment to serve as our federal government’s chief law enforcement officer.

As you set the priorities of the US Department of Justice, we ask that you focus resources on fully implementing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The 2018 reauthorization of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJPDA) was a critical step forward in supporting states in administering their juvenile justice systems and in implementing evidence-based interventions to prevent youth justice system involvement. As such, state-federal partnerships are the core of successful systemic reform.

The state-federal partnership is critical to states establishing plans in accordance with JJDPA mandates and in DOJ assessing the progress for states to remain in compliance for federal funding. However, more than two years after the passage, states are awaiting full implementation of technical assistance and clear guidance from OJJDP on how to carry out the reforms in JJDPA. As law enforcement officials, these delays are greatly hampering our on the ground ability to implement durable, systemic change to prevent crime and reduce recidivism amongst our nation’s young people.

We ask that in your first 100 days in office you make it a priority to direct the the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to:

  • Implement the December 2019 GAO recommendation to set performance targets for individual grant programs, with specific numeric goals for each individual program, and make those available to states;
  • Provide clarification on the technical assistance available to states as we develop states plans; and
  • Promulgate guidance on the Purpose Areas for Formula Grants, as established by Congress, to assist states in implementing evidence-based interventions.

These three actions are vital to supporting successful state-federal partnerships. We look forward to continued partnership with OJJDP as we work together to prevent delinquency and create evidence-based interventions to support successful youth and strong communities.

Thank you for your work on behalf of our great country.

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