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Millions Go to Youth Programs Nationwide

WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced $60 million in discretionary awards to leading national organizations to strengthen, expand and implement youth mentoring activities and youth development programming throughout the nation. An additional $37 million in grants to local mentoring organizations will be awarded in Fiscal Year 2010. These grants are administered by OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

"These awards are part of an ongoing commitment by the Department of Justice to give young people an opportunity to participate in activities that will enrich their lives," said Laurie O. Robinson, OJP's Assistant Attorney General. "Through these organizations, youth are provided programs that help keep them in school, out of trouble, and most importantly, put them in direct contact with caring adults who provide crucial support and guidance."

Today's announcement includes awards to the following organizations:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America - $10 million; Boys & Girls Clubs of America - $40 million; National Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues Inc. - $5 million; 
National 4-H Council Program Operations - $5 million.

For more information about these and other awards visit: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/10grantawards.htm.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Federal Funding Hinders Juvenile Justice Reform

The federal government expects the states to do more to prevent delinquency but is offering up less money to help with the problem. That’s a formula for tension, which became apparent this week as a 15-member federal committee heard state officials’ complaints about the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, according to Youth Today.

The committee, which is charged with assessing juvenile justice reform, heard plenty at its second meeting about the OJJDP from Joe Vignati of the Georgia Governor’s Office for Children and Families, among others.

Vignati and two others spoke about OJJDP compliance monitoring and funding issues. The three state officials agreed that OJJDP’s training and technical assistant is exemplary, but argued that the lack of funding is hindering efforts to support programs.

Twenty states now receive only a minimum allocation of $600,000 through the OJJDP. Funds for alternatives to imprisonment, such as emergency foster care and shelters, “have dried up,” said Nancy Gannon Hornberger of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington, D.C.

Among the concerns Vignati raised:

  • Data on juvenile justice and delinquency is inconsistent between the states.
  • OJJDP shouldn’t be allowed to shift funds forfeited by noncompliant states to other projects.
  • OJJDP pushes for more facilities to be monitored for compliance, but federal funds for monitoring have dropped dramatically.

Youth Today noted that Vignati caught committee members’ attention when he said that OJJDP’s new expectations, coupled with the lack of money, has some states considering whether to continue participating in the act.

Teen Gangs in 2008: Stats

32.4 percent of towns, counties and rural areas around the nation reported problems with teen gangs in 2008. The number of gangs rose 28% over the past six years according to a recent report from the OJJDP.  Gang-related crime and violence, including aggravated assaults, drug sales and firearm use increased. In cities with more than 250,000 people, gang-related homicides rose by 10%.

Gang prevalence in South

In May, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention released a report in its National Gang Center Bulletin entitled: History of Street Gangs in the United States.

Here is an interesting fact about Georgia and the South:

The states with the largest number of gang counties in 1998 were Texas (82), Georgia (61), California (50), Illinois (42), and Florida (40), with the South replacing the Northeast as the region with the most top-ranking states. Hence, the Southern region appeared to catch up with other regions in the prevalence of gang activity just before the turn of the century.

--Photo courtesy of Mike Burns' photostream

Juvenile Drug Courts Training – Due June 15, 5pm Eastern

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), is seeking applications for funding under its Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Juvenile Drug Courts Training and Technical Assistance Program. This program furthers DOJ’s mission by building the capacity of state and local jurisdictions to implement best practices for drug court programs.