Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $400,194)
The Formula Grants Program is authorized under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974, as amended. The purpose of this program is to support state and local delinquency prevention and intervention efforts and juvenile justice system improvements. Program areas may include: planning and administration; state advisory group allocation; compliance monitoring; disproportionate minority contact; juvenile justice issues for Native American Indian tribes; prevention of substance abuse by juveniles; prevention of serious and violent crimes by juveniles; prevention of juvenile gang involvement and illegal youth gang activities; prevention of delinquent acts and identification of youth at risk of delinquency; and improvement of juvenile justice system operations, policies, and procedures including establishing a system of graduated sanctions, treatment programs, and aftercare as found in section 223(a)(9) of the JJDP Act.
The Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) is committed to continuous improvement, internally, externally, and programmatically at all stages of the juvenile justice system. With diminishing resources, the JJAG will focus on cost-effective strategies centered on prevention, restorative justice, alternatives to incarceration, behavioral health needs, system improvement, education and training. In this endeavor, the JJAG has adopted an ambitious organizational model that maximizes participation opportunities for all of its members. Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) data is analyzed in a culturally competent endeavor to identify the most appropriate strategies to address its causes and to ameliorate impacts. The JJAG works to expand a deeper understanding of positive youth development and a developmental approach to youth justice including strength-based prevention and effective intervention principles by communities and within funded programs. The JJAG will work with the Maine Department of Corrections to continue to explore research and provide support to effective programs and strategies at all levels of the system ranging from delinquency prevention to addressing the needs of juveniles with high criminogenic risks. It will advocate for adoption of alternatives to school suspension and expulsion practices and the reconsideration of zero-tolerance policies by advocating support for Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) along with the policies that support such approaches. The JJAG will also continue to encourage only evidenced-based and evidence informed practices along with program assessments that have solid research backing their efficacy and aims to ensure the creation of standards of practice and training for attorneys who represent juveniles.