Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $57,250)
The purpose of the Virgin Islands Title II formula grant will be to address compliance monitoring and to bring the territory into full compliance with the JJRA Act of 2018. In the United States Virgin Islands, approximately 109,574 residents are making up the entire population and 31,356 are juveniles under the age of 18. The Virgin Islands juvenile population to be served will be youths between the ages of 3 – 17.
During this fiscal year, the Virgin Islands State Advisory Board and State Office addressed several areas of concern that affected the overall program and funding to the territory. This included the need for a well-trained Juvenile Justice Specialist and SAG Board. As the State Office addressed the most immediate of the two, a JJ Specialist was hired. The JJ Specialist immediately began to work with the SAG Board to develop a plan moving forward. Technical assistance was requested, approved, and provided. As a result of this TA, the SAG Board now has its full complement of required members and additional training was also provided to the SAG Board and the JJ Specialist who participated in the Certified JJ Specialist Program and Compliance Monitoring Program.
It was apparent that over the years, other areas of concern were the non-compliance of Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders (DSO) violations from the Girls Cottage. In addition to the Youth Rehabilitation Center located on St. Croix, violations have been an ongoing discussion in terms of the females being court-ordered to the facility however females at this facility are also referred to the program by the Department of Human Services. This facility has now been closed and is no longer a concern. Another area of non-compliance was the Jail Removal core requirements. Particularly the collection of completed data from the Youth Rehabilitation Center (YRC). This has been problematic in the past years. However, the SAG Board and the Law Enforcement Planning Commission (LEPC) addressed most of these concerns and have worked with all involved to rectify the problem.
The ongoing work being done by the SAG Board and State Office has reduced the potential of non-compliance issues and thereby decrease any potential violations. The Compliance Monitor and SAG members will continue to monitor the facilities with the universe to ensure their full compliance with the four requirements.
LEPC's main program goals are to bring the territory into full compliance with the four core requirements, specifically DSO and Jail Removal; Educate and provide technical assistance to all secure and non-secure facilities territory-wide. We will continue to work with our external partners to implement innovative intervention and prevention programs that will deter our youth from crime.