CJJ Government Relations Alerts, October 2011
Call to Action: Your Voice Needed to Preserve Federal Juvenile Justice Funding
Any day now, the Senate will make important decisions about funding critical federal programs that prevent delinquency, protect children from the dangers of adult jails and prisons, and keep communities safe. The current Senate proposal would fund the following key programs at the following levels:
The Senate proposal is not as devastating as the current House proposal, which would zero-out funding for the Title V and JABG programs. Nevertheless, the Senate proposal makes drastic cuts to programs at a time when state and local jurisdictions need them the most to sustain progress and address serious challenges.
- $45 million for the JJDPA Title II program, down from $62.3 million in FY 2011.
- $33 million for the JJDPA Title V program, down from $54 million in FY 2011.
- $30 million for JABG, down from $45.7 million in FY 2011.
To restore critical protections for children, youth and community safety, CJJ has joined with child and youth advocacy groups and juvenile justice experts to inform key members of Congress and the President of our grave concerns. Together, we are urging Congress to reject the House funding levels for juvenile justice and support the President’s revised proposal of $172 million, which is $10 million more than the FY 2011 appropriation. At the very least, we cannot accept less than the Senate FY 2012 proposal of $108 million. This call has been echoed by a number of sources, including an October 26 editorial in The Washington Post titled, “Federal cuts would imperil juvenile justice programs”.
Actions: Please join with CJJ and other members of the Act 4 Juvenile Justice Campaign (Act4JJ) to take the following actions to safeguard and rebuild federal support for JJDPA, JABG, delinquency prevention and juvenile justice reform in your state and across the nation:
Thank you for your support and continued efforts. You are making a difference for youth, families and communities in your state and nationwide.
- Contact your Senator and urge her/him to preserve critical juvenile justice funds that help keep youth, families and communities safe. To locate your Senator’s contact information, click here.
- Update your Facebook status and Twitter feeds to educate your family, friends and networks. Click here to view sample tweets and Facebook status updates.
- Sign the petition to preserve critical juvenile justice funds. It takes less than minute. Just click here.
New York State Opts out of the Adam Walsh Act
In a letter to the SMART Office at the U.S. Department of Justice dated August 23, 2011, New York became the first state to explicitly opt out of compliance with Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
This past July, the deadline passed for U.S. states, territories and tribal jurisdictions to come into compliance with SORNA. As of the date of this publication, only 16 states and territories and less than a dozen tribes have been deemed by the Justice Department to have “substantially implemented” the mandates of SORNA. States that fail to comply are subject to a 10% withholding of their Byrne JAG allocation. Tribal jurisdictions that fail to comply are subject to a loss of sovereignty over criminal justice matters.
In its letter, New York State acknowledged that losing 10% of its Byrne JAG allocation was a concern, particularly is this economic environment. New York State, however, based its decision on the costs of implementation, which far exceeded the federal support it would lose, and its confidence that the statutory scheme set out by its legislature is in the best interests of New York State and the best way to protect its citizens.
On September 8, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced H.R. 2870, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2011. As introduced, H.R. 2870 does not make needed policy changes that are advocated by CJJ and many organizations nationwide, namely elimination of the registration mandate for youth who have been adjudicated for certain offenses within the juvenile court. In addition, H.R. 2870 would reduce the authorization level for juvenile sex offender treatment programs from $10 million to only $3 million – weakening the only provision within the statute that has the potential to respond appropriately and effectively to youth commit sex-based offenses.
State policymakers, local authorities, experts, advocates, families and even victims nationwide remain hopeful that Congress will take considered, informed and evidence-based action to correct SORNA’s failures and do what is truly in the best interest of communities, children and families.