The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) convened November 18, 2020, to hear updates from the chairs of its three subcommittees, who are drafting their 2021 recommendations for the full committee to consider. The virtual meeting was held in conjunction with OJJDP’s State Relations and Assistance Division National Training Conference.
The Subcommittee on Facilitating Compliance with the Juvenile Justice Reform Act has been working on ways to help states implement the new amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act regarding the treatment of juveniles charged and tried as adults, Judge David Hejmanowski of the Delaware (Ohio) County Probate/Juvenile Court, told FACJJ members. The subcommittee has developed decision trees for court personnel to help them comply with the prohibitions against juveniles having sight or sound contact with adults, and being detained in a jail or lockup for adults.
Anthony Pierro, chief juvenile attorney in the Ocean County (New Jersey) Prosecutor’s Office, reported on the listening sessions the Territory Outreach Subcommittee held with each territory over the past several months to learn about their outstanding needs. The subcommittee’s recommendations are intended to improve the sustainability of Title II programs in the territories, Pierro said. Some could help states as well, he added.
The Special Topics Subcommittee has been focusing on how the juvenile justice system can better collaborate with the educational system to prevent juveniles struggling in school from becoming truant, Kate Richtman, former director of the Ramsey County (MN) Attorney’s Juvenile Division, told FACJJ members. The subcommittee wants to encourage states to improve youth engagement in school by relying on collaborative, multi-system approaches. Individual programs need to be tailored to a community’s particular needs, Richtman stressed.
During the coming weeks, the subcommittees will draft their 2021 recommendations for the full committee to consider in January before they are sent to Administrator Harp and Congress.
OJJDP also is accepting applications for the FACJJ from existing State Advisory Group members who want to join the committee in 2021. The Office strives to achieve a balance of practitioners from throughout the juvenile justice system, including judges, district attorneys, prosecutors, probation officers, educators and other professionals.
Following the subcommittee reports, OJJDP senior staff briefed the committee about the Office’s prevention and intervention initiatives and its support of tribal communities, highlighting youth mentoring activities, reentry programs, and programs for youth impacted by opioids.
The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice is a consultative body established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (Section 223), and is supported by OJJDP. Composed of members of state advisory groups on juvenile justice, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.