May | June 2017

News in Brief

Justice Department Convenes National Summit on Violent Crime Reduction

On June 20–21, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) held its National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in Bethesda, MD. Representatives from federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement; victim and community advocacy groups; and academia gathered to discuss how to best support and replicate successful local violent crime reduction efforts across the country.

In February 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III announced the formation of the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. DOJ convened the national summit to hear from its key crime-fighting partners, via facilitated discussions, on a variety of topics related to reducing violent crime. Participants also heard from other justice community leaders during plenary sessions.

Office of Justice Programs Blog Cites OJJDP Initiatives Supporting Law Enforcement

In a blog post commemorating National Police Week, May 14–20, 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson discusses how the Office of Justice Programs' agencies support law enforcement through tools, technology, and programs.

Mr. Hanson highlights OJJDP's Police-Youth Engagement initiative, a partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice to support interactions between police and youth. Mr. Hanson also points to the OJJDP-funded toolkit, Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence, developed to support law enforcement officers who work with children in the wake of violent incidents. Additional resources highlighted in the blog post include the Office for Victims of Crime’s Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims model and its Vicarious Trauma Toolkit, as well as the Support for Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant program, which helps law enforcement agencies fulfill the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. The program is administered by the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking.

“It takes all of us, working together and supporting our law enforcement officers, to achieve the safe, healthy communities our citizens deserve,” writes Acting Assistant Attorney General Hanson. “During Police Week, and throughout the year, we stand with them.”

Read the blog post, “Supporting Law Enforcement Through Tools, Technology, Relationships.

OJJDP Hosts Training for New Juvenile Justice Specialists

OJJDP's formula grants support state, local, and tribal efforts to reduce and prevent delinquency, improve the juvenile justice system, and protect children from violence and abuse. Juvenile Justice Specialists in each state administer the funding in accordance with legislative requirements.

On June 12, 2017, OJJDP hosted a training for new state Juvenile Justice Specialists with 4 or fewer years of experience. Topics included how to develop comprehensive, 3-year, juvenile justice and delinquency prevention plans; prepare for financial management and program monitoring site visits; and access additional federal funding. Participants also received training on reporting requirements and updates on compliance and regulatory matters.

More than 35 specialists from 30 states and territories attended the training. In her remarks, Acting OJJDP Administrator Eileen M. Garry discussed the Office’s commitment to partnering with the states to address funding challenges and to implement juvenile justice improvements. Ms. Garry told the attendees that she is “personally committed to reaching out to all State Advisory Groups over the course of the next 3 years,” and informed them of three upcoming trainings that OJJDP will host. Two of the trainings will be open to Juvenile Justice Specialists who serve dual roles as Compliance Monitors or Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinators. “We promised to maintain contact with the states and we are keeping that promise,” she said.

OJJDP Supports Eligibility of Indian Tribes for AMBER Alert Grants

On May 10, 2017, OJJDP Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry made a presentation on Capitol Hill in response to bill S. 772 to amend the PROTECT Act to make American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages eligible for AMBER Alert grants. Her remarks were part of a listening session sponsored by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Senator John McCain (R–AZ) introduced the bill on March 29, 2017.

Although AMBER Alert efforts are comprehensive—they cover all 50 states and handle child abductions that cross U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico—American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages face unique challenges that remain, in many cases, unaddressed. These challenges include the navigation of tribal, federal, and state jurisdictions; limited 911 systems; and shortages of data management tools, dispatch systems, and software needed for disseminating critical information in the aftermath of an abduction. “In its two decades of existence, AMBER Alert has been instrumental in safely recovering hundreds of abducted children,” said Acting Administrator Garry. “It is important to continue our collective work to strengthen this vital public safety tool, especially in remote and often under-resourced areas of Indian country.”

National Center for Juvenile Justice Updates Juvenile Justice GPS

The National Center for Juvenile Justice’s Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, and Statistics) website has added a menu area on juvenile court. The new offering includes a map classifying the current types of “purpose clauses” for delinquency in every state. Purpose clauses are usually written in a statute to clarify the intention of the legislature for a particular state’s juvenile justice system, and they tend to evolve along with larger juvenile justice paradigm shifts as priorities and national trends emerge. The new menu area also includes a map classifying intake and diversion policies in statutes across the country.

The Juvenile Justice GPS combines the most relevant national- and state-level statistics with information on state laws and practice. The project’s goal is to provide state policymakers and system stakeholders with a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the evolving juvenile justice landscape in the states.