Millions of federal grant dollars are going out the door before the end of the year to support youth and help enhance equity in the juvenile justice system, the Department of Justice announced last week.
The department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs alone will dole out nearly $103 million, which will add to about $80 million in other federal grants, DOJ said in a news release.
“We must focus on the needs of our nation’s youth, particularly those who are at risk of victimization and justice system involvement,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “These awards support a more humane and effective approach to young people who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. This funding supports evidence-based programs and services that recognize young people’s capacity to respond positively and productively to support and intervention in their communities.”
Although the number of kids getting locked up plunged by about half in the past decade, in 2019, about 36,500 of them were in residential placements on any given day that year. Most were confined for nonviolent offenses, DOJ said, and many would have benefited more from evidence-based programs in their hometowns.
Among other objectives, the grants are meant to address the fact that Black youth are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as white youth.
The money will be distributed to local, state and tribal jurisdictions whose programs seek to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system, reduce recidivism among those who fall into it and help them successfully reenter society after release.
A juvenile indigent defense program will help ensure that youth in the youth justice system have access to high-quality legal representation and resources to address the collateral consequences of their contact with the system.
These awards are in addition to more than $80 million in grants targeted to specific populations, including youth affected by the opioid crisis and drug addiction, young people at risk of community or gang violence, parents of incarcerated children and tribal youth.
Click here to see specifics on the awards.