NLC Committee Chair Joins National Dialogue on Juvenile Justice

Article excerpt

The Chair of NLC's Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee, Evelyn Turner was in the nation's capital last week, bringing her committee's priorities to a discussion of the future of federal funding for state and local juvenile justice initiatives.

Turner, a councilmember from Columbus, Ga. underscored cities' concerns regarding federal funding of local crime and prevention programs, interstate sharing of juvenile records, sentencing and corrections issues.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDP Act), federal law that provides the principal source of funds for state and local juvenile justice initiatives for the past two decades, will expire September 30 of this year.

The Congress is in the process of holding hearings regarding the law's reauthorization and the main administering agency, the Department of Justice, is seeking comments regarding the successes and failures of the Act.

As part of that strategy, the DOJ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) last week joined the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) in hosting a roundtable discussion of the concerns and interests of the public sector community with regard to the reauthorization of that law.

Congressional Outlook

At this point, it is unlikely that reauthorization efforts will be successful before the 104th Congress adjourns for the year. However, there appears to be significant support for the Act to continue for the remainder of this year, leaving the serious effort at reauthorization and any changes that may include wait until the next congress.

Speaking For Cities

Councilmemer Turner praised the group's mission and its recognition of the critical need for federal assistance for comprehensive, local programs that address the rapidly growing incidence and level of violence committed by children and against children.

Referring to NLC's Opinion Survey in which six out of ten community conditions most identified as worsening in the past year as associated with young people, Turner said, "The emphasis of all levels of government and every facet of society must be focused on our children. …