Thursday, January 16, 2014

Congress eliminates Juvenile Accountability Block Grants

Congress' massive appropropriations bill approved this week, has extinguished a longstanding U.S. Justice Department program to help improve state and local juvenile justice systems--the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants (JABG), according to The Crime Report.

The action continues a trend of reducing federal aid for juvenile justice projects. The JABG program, created by Congress in the 1990s when juvenile crime was a much more prominent public issue, had dwindled to only a $25 million budget last year, tiny by Washington standards. Its allocation had been reduced 90 percent since fiscal year 2002, says the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, a private organization that represents juvenile justice interests in Washington.

Overall, the federal bill reduces federal spending on juvenile justice by $11 million to $255 million, but it increases grant money to states from $44 million to $55 million.

The Coalition for Juvenile Justice released a statement concerning the cuts, "(We are) deeply disappointed that the appropriators chose to terminate the much-needed Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG) program. JABG funding has enabled states to develop and implement essential system improvements including the hiring of key staff, the development of alternatives to detention, and the training of juvenile justice professionals in evidence-supported and accountability-based practices."

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