Weekly Notes: Obama normalizes JJ budget for 2013; Report on Arkansas reform; and more

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***There are 338 days left in the first term of President Barack Obama, and the president has still not nominated someone to serve as administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The president did submit a budget this week, and it includes a return to the traditional funding of OJJDP. Obama proposed to turn virtually all juvenile justice funding into a competitive grant program in 2012, but ultimately the administration backed off that idea.

You can click here for a full breakdown of the 2013 budget proposal, but here are the main juvenile justice figures:

Formula grants to states (Title II): $70 million

2012 appropriation: $40 million

Delinquency prevention grants: $40 million

2012 appropriation: $20 million

Block grants to states (JABG): $30 million

2012 appropriation: $30 million

Mentoring programs: $58 million

2012 appropriation: $78 million

Community-Based Violence Prevention: $25 million

2012 appropriation: $8 million

Assuming that Congress goes along with Obama’s overall funding level for the programs (and you know what assumptions make!), the big swing might be $20 million between mentoring and formula grants to states. Obama wants $20 million more for formula and $20 million less for mentoring; appropriators have protected mentoring funds through two years of cuts to OJJDP.

It appears the administration is good with the current JABG level of $30 million. The 2012 solicitation for those funds just went out to states this week, and the drop-off from 2010 is pretty staggering. Here are figures for a random sampling of states:

California

2012 available funding: $2.1 million

2010: $4.6 million

Iowa

2012: $263,199

2010: $574,100

Mississippi

2012: $269,033

2010: $601,000

Pennsylvania

2012: $700,124

2010: $1.5 million

West Virginia

2012: $191,109

2010: $422,300

The 2012 Justice solicitations include a paragraph stating, for the first time, the ban on using federal funds for the purchase of food and beverages at any “meeting, conference, training, or other event.”

***Act 4 Juvenile Justice, a conglomerate of juvenile justice policy advocates, said in a statement Tuesday that it was “heartened” by the president’s juvenile justice proposal, which it said “comes closer to meeting the needed core support for state efforts” than the 2012 appropriations.

But one member of ACT4JJ, the Justice Policy Institute, ripped the president later in the week for keeping juvenile justice proposals low while continuing to promote the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

“Despite a national decrease in the number of people in prison for the first time since 1972,1 the President’s budget supports the continued incarceration of people at the federal level and spending on policing,” JPI said in its issue brief, “Behind the Times.”

***The recent juvenile justice reforms in California and New York have garnered much attention. A lower-profile movement is afoot to overhaul the system in Arkansas, which in 2009 was out of compliance with federal standards on detaining status offenders and keeping juveniles out of adult jails. Two years ago, youth advocate Dee Ann Newell told JJ Today two years ago that the juvenile justice is the shame of the state.

Atlantic Philanthropies, the Public Welfare Foundation, and Madoff victim the JEHT Foundation supported the state and the National Center for Youth Law to work on reform, and Public Welfare funded the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to report on the product of that investment.

That report, the Architecture of Reform, is now available on the NCCD website. It highlights 15 steps taken by the state to first stem the tide of low-level offenders coming into secure facilities, and then reinvest savings from that into community-based options.

***Reclaiming Futures, a substance abuse treatment program for juveniles overseen by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has an opening for a statewide trainer in its North Carolina office. The position is actually  full-time job with the state Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. You must apply by Feb. 28, so click here for more details.