Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $450,098)
The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program (JABG) Program is authorized under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 3796ee). The goal of the JABG program is to reduce juvenile offending through accountability-based programs focused on both the juvenile offender and the juvenile justice system. The objective is to ensure that States and Territories are addressing the specified purpose areas and receiving information on best practices from OJJDP. JABG funds are allocated to States and Territories based on each State's relative population of youth under the age of 18. The underlying premise of juvenile accountability programming is that young people who violate the law should be held accountable for their actions through the swift, consistent application of graduated sanctions that are proportionate to the offenses, both as a matter of basic justice and as a way to combat juvenile delinquency and improve the quality of life in the nation's communities.
The JABG Program for the State of Mississippi is administered by the Mississippi Division of Public Safety Planning (DPSP). The State of Mississippi retains 25% of JABG funds and passes through 75% to units of local government. Primarily, Mississippi is focused on three areas of juvenile justice reform which includes: restorative justice, detention/corrections staff training, and accountability-based programs. Mississippi is focusing on the development and implementation of restorative justice programs in three counties with high levels of referrals to the Youth Court. One of these counties is Rankin County, which plans to implement a restorative justice program entitled Juvenile Justice Mediation Program. This program is grounded in the principle that the most constructive outcome from juvenile offending is to hold the juvenile(s) accountable for his/her actions and involving the victim(s) to encourage this process. It is anticipated that the restorative justice programming that will be implemented in the three counties will result in a 35%-50% reduction in referrals. It is Mississippi's intention to educate and train 65%-75% of juvenile justice professionals on positive methods for juvenile justice reform in accordance with State and Federal law. DPSP continues to collaborate with State and local agencies to provide training for juvenile justice professionals in the State of Mississippi. DPSP will continue to sponsor the Annual Juvenile Justice Conference targeting compliance-based issues and juvenile justice reform. In addition, DPSP is working with Information Technology Services (ITS) to establish a compliance based database for juvenile detention centers to enter information regarding the detainment and holding of juveniles within a facility.