OJJDP Issues Some Compliance Policies on JJDPA; No Final Rule Yet

In August, the Justice Department published a proposed set of new rules for compliance monitoring related to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act that would render most states out of compliance on at least one of the law’s four core standards.

The final rules have not yet been published, but the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has alerted states to prepare for at least one significant change in monitoring this year.

An announcement to states sent this week said states will be required to annually monitor 100 percent of the facilities covered by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. According to OJJDP, 33 states already adhere to that standard, but larger states have expressed concern about the cost and practicality of monitoring all facilities each year.

This week’s announcement somewhat modifies the original proposal and allows 15 percent of that 100 percent monitoring to be extrapolated in a “statistically valid manner.”

The public comment period on the proposed rules ended in early October, and most of the respondents chiming in were state agencies or state advisory groups. Some outliers aside, the gist was this: We respect the intention, these rules are too harsh, and some states will probably abandon JJDPA if they become final.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention refuses to comment at all on the subject, so it’s uncertain whether this administration will see the rule-making process through. Youth Service Insider‘s guess when we first saw the proposed rules was that the department came in with severe changes on purpose, would take the predictable slew of critical comments, and look reasonable when it took those comments into account when it made a final rule.

The policy announcement somewhat supports that theory, as the monitoring universe comes down from 100 percent to 85 percent. We heard from one state-level observer that 75 percent would have been a more reasonable compromise.

The policy statement also broaches an issue that was not really covered in the proposed regulations: consequences for shadiness. States will face the prospect of frozen funds, ineligibility for JJPDA grants, and referrals to the Office of the Inspector General if OJJDP “receives information that raises valid concerns regarding the integrity of a state’s compliance monitoring system, or if OJJDP determines that a state has an inadequate monitoring system.”

While this was not part of the proposed rules, it’s also not surprising to see it in policy. OJJDP has spent the past year and change working with Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) about concerns brought to him by a whistleblower about the compliance monitoring process for JJDPA.

Click here to read the policy announcement from this week.

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