A Boost, and Lots of Earmarks

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The fiscal 2010 budget contains several noteworthy items for juvenile justice:

Second Chance Act: The act, passed in 2008, funds services for juvenile and adult prisoners returning to their home communities. They include job training and education services through the Department of Labor and other services through the Justice Department.

The act was funded at $25 million last year. That figure quadrupled to $100 million in the Justice Department for fiscal 2010, while the Labor Department appropriation is also around $100 million.

The Justice funding includes $7.8 million for “family-based substance abuse treatment.” The early evidence from the Pathways to Desistance research is that family-involved drug treatment is one of the few things that clearly lowers the chances of reoffending among juveniles convicted of serious offenses.

Community-Based Violence Prevention Initiative: $10 million is provided for this new project requested by President Barack Obama. (He asked for $25 million). This account could eventually hold the PROMISE Act funding.

Title V: Funded at $65 million. Almost all of it ($60 million) goes to three projects – tribal programs, gang resistance and enforcing underage drinking laws – that are unrelated to what Title V was originally for: sending grants to states to use at their discretion. That leaves $5 million for the states. That’s more than double what states got last year.

Earmarks: Youth Today counted 277 OJJDP earmarks in last year’s appropriations bill; there are 319 this year. The list of earmarks in the Byrne Discretionary Grants was even longer, and many of those are related to juvenile justice.

Earmarks eat up every single cent of OJJDP’s $91,095,000 in Part E (challenge and demonstration projects) grants that was appropriated by Congress.