Weekly Notes-Jan. 16


JJ Today will be back Wednesday after the inaugural madness in Washington.

***As mentioned in our breaking news section yesterday, Jeff Slowikowski will be the acting administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as of Jan. 21. We met Slowikowski at the American Bar Association panel discussion on juvenile justice just days after the election; he looks way too young to have worked at OJJDP since 1990! It will be interesting to see if his hat ends up in the ring for the permanent job.

***Great training is coming for jurisdictions that want to join the youth/teen court family, which currently counts 1,200 courts in 49 states among its legions. The 2009 National Training to Implement or Enhance a Local Teen Court or Youth Court Program will take place in Cleveland March 30-31. The registration fee is $175.

Last year was a record one for this alternative practice, we are told by youth court guru Scott Peterson, a former OJJDP staffer who is now director of criminal justice programs at YouthBuild USA in Somerville, Mass. "During the most recent one year period, 111,868 juvenile and delinquent cases were referred to local youth and teen courts and 133,832 volunteers help[ed] with the disposition and sentencing of these juvenile cases," Peterson told us in an e-mail.  

***There is another ABA panel on juvenile justice scheduled for February, which JJ Today will try and find footage of for those of you who can't get out of Valentine's Day to attend. Heavy hitters on this panel include Burns Institute Director James Bell; Bob Schwartz, executive director of the Juvenile Law Center; Jane Tewksbury, Commissioner of the Department of Youth Services Boston; and Middlesex, Mass. Judge Jay Blitzman, who stole the show at the D.C. panel.

Charles Ogletree, who is still the voice of the new administration on juvenile justice, will moderate, as he did at the D.C. event. Is he thinking of running OJJDP or not? Someone who knows, tell us.

***Speaking of YouthBuild, it seems that the organization is finally going to get its financial just desserts, even as the economy slides. The House's stimulus package includes $50 million for the program, which helps at-risk and court-involved youth work towards graduation or GED programs while giving them experience in the construction industry.

YouthBuild's much larger sibling in that niche, Job Corps, is slated for $300 million in the House bill to upgrade its facilities.

***Texas juvenile justice will end its bifurcated system by fall of 2010, and the down-sizing of its more troubled agency, the Texas Youth Commission, is under way. Those layoffs actually affect 100 workers; the rest of the eliminated jobs are currently unfilled. Checked the Grits for Breakfast entry on this: reaction is a mixed bag between support for TYC Executive Director Cherie Townsend and a belief that TYC education staff should not get canned before Townsend makes cuts to her own central staff.

***The competition for 2009 funding for the Drug Free Communities Support Program is on. A request for applications was released jointly this week by the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The $17 million should cover 130 new awards at $125,000 per year.

Local education agencies and charter schools can also apply for Safe Schools/Healthy Students money from the Department of Education. Funds (up to $2.25 million for each of 28 winners) can be used to set up community efforts around drug-free school zones and youth development.


  • Benjamin Chambers

    John – nice work on this an your other recent post on OJJDP’s role and the powerful role it should be playing in national juvenile justice policy. You’re right: I’ve only been in the field since 2000, and it’s hard a surprise to learn that OJJDP was every allowed to be such a strong policy advocate. Let’s hope that changes.