Designed to promote greater accountability in the juvenile justice system, the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program (JABG) is administered by the U. S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In Louisiana, local and tribal governments can apply to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement for funds to support local accountability programs.
Recent changes in federal law restructured the OJJDP’s funding activity by introducing a number of significant changes. Among those changes were new provisions for the funding of juvenile offender accountability programs. Several program elements were revised in the JABG program.
The underlying premise of juvenile accountability programming is that young people who violate the law should be held accountable for their offenses through the swift, consistent application of sanctions that are proportionate to the offenses—both as a matter of basic justice and as a way to combat delinquency and improve the quality of life in communities. The program’s goal is to reduce juvenile offending through accountability-based initiatives focused on both the offender and the juvenile justice system.
OJJDP awards block grants to states like Louisiana, which must then pass through at least 75 percent of the funds to local jurisdictions. The minimum size for subgrants to communities is $10,000 (the formula for allocating funds to communities reflects juvenile justice expenditures rather than law enforcement expenditures). States and localities must provide a cash match of 10 percent (50 percent for construction projects). To be eligible to receive JABG funds, states and localities must use a Juvenile Crime Enforcement Coalition to develop a Coordinated Enforcement Plan for reducing juvenile crime.
Funds are available for 17 juvenile justice system related program purpose areas:
- Graduated sanctions: Developing, implementing, and administering graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders.
- Corrections/detention facilities: Building, expanding, renovating, or operating temporary or permanent juvenile corrections or detention facilities, including training of personnel.
- Court staffing and pretrial services: Hiring juvenile court judges, probation officers, and court-appointed defenders and special advocates, and funding pretrial services (including mental health screening and assessment) for juvenile offenders, to promote the effective and expeditious administration of the juvenile justice system.
- Prosecutors (staffing): Hiring additional prosecutors so that more cases involving violent juvenile offenders can be prosecuted and backlogs reduced.
- Prosecutors (funding): Providing funding to enable prosecutors to address drug, gang, and youth violence problems more effectively and for technology, equipment, and training to assist prosecutors in identifying and expediting the prosecution of violent juvenile offenders.
- Training for law enforcement and court personnel: Establishing and maintaining training programs for law enforcement and other court personnel with respect to preventing and controlling juvenile crime.
- Juvenile gun courts: Establishing juvenile gun courts for the prosecution and adjudication of juvenile firearms offenders.
- Juvenile drug courts: Establishing drug court programs to provide continuing judicial supervision over juvenile offenders with substance abuse problems and to integrate the administration of other sanctions and services for such offenders.
- Juvenile records system: Establishing and maintaining a system of juvenile records designed to promote public safety.
- Information sharing: Establishing and maintaining interagency information-sharing programs that enable the juvenile and criminal justice systems, schools, and social services agencies to make more informed decisions regarding the early identification, control, supervision, and treatment of juveniles who repeatedly commit serious delinquent or criminal acts.
- Accountability: Establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs designed to reduce recidivism among juveniles who are referred by law enforcement personnel or agencies.
- Risk and needs assessment: Establishing and maintaining programs to conduct risk and needs assessments of juvenile offenders that facilitate effective early intervention and the provision of comprehensive services, including mental health screening and treatment and substance abuse testing and treatment, to such offenders.
- School safety: Establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs that are designed to enhance school safety.
- Restorative justice: Establishing and maintaining restorative justice programs.
- Juvenile courts and probation: Establishing and maintaining programs to enable juvenile courts and juvenile probation officers to be more effective and efficient in holding juvenile offenders accountable and reducing recidivism.
- Detention/corrections personnel: Hiring detention and corrections personnel and establishing and maintaining training programs for such personnel, to improve facility practices and programming.
- Reentry: Establishing, improving, and coordinating pre-release and post-release systems and programs to facilitate the successful reentry of juvenile offenders from state or local custody in the community.
For more information: Demetrius Joubert at 225.342.1531