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OJJDP News @ a Glance February 2024

News In Brief

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Celebrating 50 Years of the JJDPA

OJJDP is marking the 50th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)—and OJJDP’s founding—in 2024 with a yearlong observance, “Looking Back, Moving Forward.” A 50th anniversary webpage includes a legislative timeline tracing changes to the JJDPA, from its passage in 1974 to its reauthorization in 2018, and highlights some of the achievements of former OJJDP administrators. As the year progresses, webpage updates will include details of activities celebrating OJJDP’s golden anniversary, culminating with the National Conference on Youth Justice in November. 

The JJDPA established OJJDP and charges the Office with providing national leadership, resources, and funding to states, Tribes, and communities to protect children, prevent delinquency, and improve the juvenile justice system. Under the Act, OJJDP provides funding to states that follow the “core protections”—a series of federal protections for system-involved youth. They include deinstitutionalizing status offenders, separating youth from adults in secure facilities, removing youth from adult jails and lockups, and reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. In 2018, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act reauthorized and strengthened the original Act.


OJJDP Seeks Applicants for Youth Reentry Technical Assistance Fellowship Program

OJJDP encourages individuals with lived experience in the juvenile justice system to apply for one of two youth justice fellowships with the Youth Reentry Technical Assistance Center, which is funded by OJJDP and coordinated by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). OJJDP and AIR—an OJJDP training and technical assistance provider—are partners in the fellowship program, which begins in February 2024 and runs through September 2026. 

The Youth Reentry Technical Assistance Center prioritizes youth engagement, recognizing the unique contributions young people with lived experience bring to youth justice work. Fellows will assist the center in advancing the successful reentry of system-involved youth back to their communities and supporting OJJDP’s Second Chance Act grantees and their reentry programs. They will contribute to every aspect of the center’s operations, including technical assistance, capacity building, and strategic planning. 

“Young people with lived experience in the justice system have unique, firsthand insights to share,” OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan says. “The fellows will gain valuable professional experience while helping to shape the youth justice agenda. We want them to feel like part of the OJJDP team, and we envision having them join us for all-staff meetings and OJJDP events. We’re especially excited for them to take part in our National Conference on Youth Justice in November.” 

Find a full description of the fellowship and submit an interest application on the AIR website. Fellows will be paid and are expected to work approximately 30 hours per week. Applicants should be high school graduates (or equivalent) who are comfortable working independently and as part of a team. For more information, contact Simon Gonsoulin ([email protected]) at AIR or Jacob Agus-Kleinman ([email protected]) at OJJDP.


Coordinating Council Requests Feedback on Services To Keep Kids Out of the Juvenile Justice System

At the December 6 meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, members heard from two panels of experts with a wealth of experience in the juvenile justice system—from professionals in law enforcement and the juvenile courts to a young person serving on a state advisory group. Panelists gave honest, candid answers to two questions:

  • How can the Council’s member agencies enhance the coordination of services for youth to help ensure young people never enter the juvenile justice system? 
  • How can the member agencies coordinate to increase youth access to opportunities and services—and decrease barriers—so that justice-involved youth have the best chance of success in their home communities? 

As a followup, the Council is posing these same questions to all stakeholders in the youth justice field, including young people, family members, practitioners, and other experts. Submit your feedback online by March 15, 2024.


Data Snapshot Reveals Trends Among Youth in Residential Placement 

OJJDP has updated its Statistical Briefing Book, adding Trends and Characteristics of Youth in Residential Placement, 2021, which presents data from OJJDP’s biennial Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. Fewer than 25,000 youth were in residential placement facilities for an offense in 2021, the snapshot notes. Other highlights include:

  • From 1999 to 2021, relative declines in residential placements were greater for youth who were committed (83 percent) than for youth who were detained (62 percent).
  • When considering all youth committed to residential placement, the median number of days in placement was 117. The median number was greatest for Asian youth (148 days). 
  • Between 2010 and 2021, detention rates decreased the most for Asian (71 percent) and Hispanic (69 percent) youth. During the same period, commitment rates decreased by at least 69 percent for youth of all racial and ethnic groups. 
Date Created: February 22, 2024