The Bush administration has cut off most federal funding from a coalition that for more than 20 years has represented state governments on juvenile delinquency policy in Washington. The monthly Youth Today reports that the Justice Department decided it was inappropriate for an agency to give nearly $670,000 per year to a group that was advising it.
To avoid the supposed conflict, the Justice Department is asking governors to name representatives to a new advisory panel that would assume the functions of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Much of the coalition’s federal funding expired on Aug. 31.
The coalition’s mission is to represent the states' views on juvenile justice issues. Says Youth Today: “That has always put the group at variance with whoever is [the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s] presidentially appointed administrator. But what in previous Republican and Democratic administrations would have been considered reasonable policy disagreements that are the lifeblood of democracy are now seen as acts of anti-Bush administration perfidy.”
The coalition is attempting to persuade Congress to reinstate its grant and advisory authority. It contends that under the Justice Department’s proposed change, Justice “would control, censor, and limit state perspectives and voice.” A coalition official explains that if Justice convenes its own committee of advisors, “sets the agenda for them and exerts editorial control over what is reported by them, it will strip away the states’ voice as mandated by federal law.”