NAACP Supports Funding For Programs To Help Protect Children In The Criminal Justice System

PROPOSED FUNDING CUTS WOULD JEOPARDIZE EFFORTS TO EASE DISPROPORTIONATE RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITY CHILDRENS’ CONTACT WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

Within the next week, the House and Senate will decide on funding levels for the next year for two important federal juvenile justice programs – the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), and the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG).  Together, these important programs help states help protect the children who have become in contact with the criminal justice system, and these programs try to identify and ease the disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minority children who come in contact with law enforcement. 

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have made their proposals for funding of the JJDPA and the JABG programs for fiscal year 2012.  Together, these programs received $162 million in the last fiscal year.  President Obama requested $172 million in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2012; the House of Representatives is proposing to reduce this to $40 million this year, and to eliminate several major components of the programs; the Senate is proposing to spend $108 million in fiscal year 2012.  These proposed cuts come on top of drastic reductions taken over the last decade. Since Fiscal Year 2002, federal juvenile justice funds to states have been slashed by 90%.  

Deep cuts 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 NAACP STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE JJDPA AND THE JABG AND THUS WE URGE EVERY MEMBER OF THE U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE TO SUPPORT THE PROPOSED SENATE FUNDING LEVELS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012 AND TO REJECT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ PROPOSED CUTS TO THESE VITAL PROGRAMS.

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