House Appropriations Committee Eliminates Most Juvenile Justice Funding

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A spending bill that eliminates most federal funding for juvenile justice activities was approved today by the House Appropriations Committee, and is expected to receive a vote by the full House before the August recess.

The bill, approved after a four-hour mark-up session, reduces spending by $3 billion from 2011 fiscal year levels, following most of the recommendations of its subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. It passed on a voice vote.

Juvenile justice demonstration grants, Juvenile Accountability Block Grants (JABG) and Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Grants received no funding in the bill. In 2010, the last year Congress actually passed an appropriations package, those three funding streams totaled $231 million.

The bill also reduces state formula grants - given to states on the condition that they adhere to basic standards in regard to the detainment of juveniles, and address racial disparities in the system - from $75 million in 2010 to $40 million.

The entire House will now consider a spending package that drastically reduces the total appropriation for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and leaves the majority of its resources in mentoring ($83 million) and missing and exploited children ($70 million).

At the mark-up session, ranking CJS subcommittee Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.), took credit for maintaining the high level for mentoring, which was funded at the same level as 2011 and $17 million below its peak of $100 million in 2010.

CJS Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), speaking before the committee considered amendments, made it clear that his subcommittee did not rate funds related to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act among the most effective uses of dollars at the Office of Justice Programs.

“Despite the reduction,” in Justice funding, Wolf said, “the bill prioritizes the remaining funds to proven, highest priority programs including violence against women programs, [Byrne] Justice Assistance Grants, and missing and exploited children programs.”

Fattah and several other committee members offered amendments that would have restored some funding to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which in 2011 will give out $247 million to state and local police to hire (or re-hire) full-time officers. All of the amendments failed.