The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) released, “Promoting Safe Communities; Recommendations to the Administration,” a bi-annual call to action for the federal government to use it’s leadership to end the inhumane practices used against youth in contact with the law.
Despite significant reforms over the past decade to reduce youth incarceration and out-of-home placements, there are still far too many youth being locked up in our juvenile and criminal justice systems. Despite falling crime rates and a 45% decrease in youth arrests over the past decade, the United States still arrests more than 600,000 youth a year, the vast majority of whom could be more effectively treated in community-based settings. Each year, we incarcerate 55,000 children in state prisons, most who are there for non-violent crimes. An additional 250,000 youth are prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system annually; and on any given night more than 6,000 youth are held in adult jails and prisons.
With strong federal leadership, the pace of juvenile justice reforms can be accelerated. Research over the past 25 years has increased our understanding of what works and how to best approach juvenile delinquency and system reform. Many jurisdictions across the country are implementing promising reforms, and there is an increasingly clear path for moving toward community and evidence-based approaches to reducing adolescent crime.
In its final 18 months in office, the Administration has the opportunity and responsibility to support effective systems of justice for our youth and should begin by focusing on the following five priority areas: Restore Federal Leadership in Juvenile Justice Policy; Support and Prioritize Prevention, Early Intervention, and Diversion Strategies; Ensure Safety and Fairness for Court-Involved Youth; Remove Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System; Support Youth Reentry. In a moment of bi-partisan agreement that our juvenile and criminal justice systems are inhumane, ineffective and costly, it is time for the Administration to take action on behalf of our nation’s youth.
Promoting Safe Communities is a comprehensive document of issues and recommendations for the 114th Congress to promote safe communities by investing in policies that are both effective and based on adolescent development research regarding at-risk youth and the juvenile justice system.
In the past decade, a growing number of state, local and tribal jurisdictions have begun to take significant steps to overhaul their juvenile justice systems. These changes are the result of a heightening awareness of the ineffectiveness of punitive practices and accumulating knowledge about adolescent brain development. Momentum for reform is growing. However, many state, local, and trival jurisdictions need assistance and are looking to the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for guidance.
Please mark your calendars for a special panel event hosted by the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition. We invite you to join us as we welcome national juvenile justice partners in an informative and interactive discussion about state-based juvenile justice reforms and initiatives planned for 2014.
In response to the National Rifle Assocaition (NRA) proposal to place armed personnel in each of our nation's schools as a path to improved school safety, the National Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), comprising a broad array of youth safety experts, researchers, practitioners, and advocates regularly engaged in issues of school safety, has issued this statement asserting that this approach will not result in safer schools.
The tragic December 14th shootings in Newtown, Connecticut shook our nation’s confidence in its ability to prevent violence and keep our children and our communities safe. It also strengthened our resolve to prevent future violence. The grief and anguish connected with the violence in Newtown cause us to remember that in far too many communities, violence is commonplace; an everyday occurrence. As lawmakers discuss potential solutions to keep our communities and our children safer, including limits to the widespread accessibility of firearms, both illegal and legal, in the United States, we offer the expertise of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) and provide recommendations for a comprehensive approach to reduce violence and keep children and communities safe.
The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is a collaborative array of youth- and family- serving, social justice, law enforcement, corrections, and faith-based organizations, working to ensure healthy families, build strong communities and improve public safety by promoting fair and effective policies, practices and programs for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. We work collaboratively on various reform efforts to improve the administration of juvenile justice.
The NJJDPC achieves its mission by engaging a broad spectrum of opinion leaders and stakeholders, including the voices of those most affected by the juvenile justice system, to:
- Advocate for sensible and safe solutions to crime and delinquency;
- Build and leverage policy leadership in the field and;
- Serve as a clearinghouse for research and best practices within our nation’s juvenile and criminal justice systems.
All members of the NJJDC are encouraged to join a Working Group. NJJDPC Working Groups are responsible for developing the NJJDPC’s policy and strategy in key issue areas. Participation in a Working Group requires members to contribute time (sometimes weekly) and in-kind resources such as convening conference calls, developing data sheets and positions, photocopying, conducting outreach with policymakers in Congress and to constituents in the field. Typically, Working Groups meet regularly in person. There are currently three working groups within the NJJDPC.
ACT 4 Juvenile Justice (ACT4JJ) is a campaign of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition composed of juvenile justice, child welfare and youth development organizations exploring opportunities related to the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), which is overdue for reauthorization. The Act4JJ working group’s website is www.act4jj.org. This working group also tracks appropriation of federal funds for juvenile justice programs and services. Working Group Contact: Marcy Mistrett & Marie Williams
This working group focuses on advocacy for evidence based solutions to prevent serious youth violence and gang related offending. The main federal legislative initiative that this group works on is the Youth PROMISE Act. The Youth PROMISE Act (Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education) is bipartisan legislation that will give communities the support and funding they need to effectively address youth violence issues. The Violence Prevention working group's website is www.youthpromiseaction.org.
Working Group Contacts: Jennifer Bellamy and Bob Baskin
Members of this working group are concerned about federal proposals that would worsen the condition commonly referred to as the school-to-prison-pipeline. Efforts of this working group include public education, capitol hill advocacy, and media outreach to support evidence-based strategies that ensure student safety while protecting youth from unnecessary involvement in the justice system. Working Group Contacts: Ashley Nellis and Kaitlin Banner
The opinions represented on this webpage do not represent the opinions of every organization in the NJJDPC. The webpage is designed as a clearinghouse for information related to effective strategies to keep kids safe. All content has been included to represent a broad spectrum of evidence-based strategies to protect kids and build safer communities. The NJJDPC does not endorse any specific content unless so stated in the document.