An estimated 250,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year across the United States. African-American youth are nine times more likely to receive an adult prison sentence than white youth.
Congress is currently considering what type of funding state juvenile justice programs will receive--and many vital programs are on the chopping block.
Insufficient funding will severely jeopardize, and in some states completely devastate, highly effective and proven delinquency prevention and community safety programs. A lack of funding will also cripple efforts to implement cost-effective alternatives to detention and incarceration, to reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and to keep children out of adult jails.
These programs need funding now more than ever to end the over-incarceration of young people of color in the justice system.
Urge Congress to maintain funding for juvenile justice programs to keep children out of adult jails.
Deep cuts in federal juvenile justice programs undermine the implementation of federal juvenile justice laws and will:
• result in more youth incarcerated in adult jails -- costly and dangerous facilities where youth are placed at severe risk of suicide, physical and sexual abuse, recidivism, and a lifetime of disconnection from education and work;
• erode and jeopardize nationwide progress on juvenile justice improvements that have led to historic low rates in youth-offending across all U.S. states and territories; and
• eliminate support for cost-effective delinquency prevention programs and alternatives to incarceration shown to increase public safety and decrease recidivism, while producing cost savings to the public. For every $1 spent on prevention and community-based alternatives, taxpayers save up to $8 in lifetime criminal justice costs.
The proposed House cuts come on top of drastic reductions taken over the last decade. Since FY02, federal juvenile justice funds to states have been slashed by 90%. The Senate’s proposed funding levels do much better to ensure that all states, territories and DC will continue to receive necessary resources to adhere to federal standards, to prevent and reduce delinquency, and to continue to protect youth who come into contact with the system. I urge you to adopt the Senate proposal for juvenile justice programs, specifically Title II and Title V of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), and the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG).