Credibility of Juvenile Justice Office at Risk Over Curious Grant Decisions


Youth Today explores questionable decisions made in awarding competitive Department of Justice grants to combat juvenile delinquency. The Washington-based publication reports that top-ranked bidders have sometimes lost out to much lower-ranked bidders when an administrator added a criterion that was not part of the request-for-proposals. In one case, administrator J. Robert Flores of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention added a criterion concerning out-of-wedlock pregnancy. As a result, a bidder previously ranked in the middle of more than 100 applicants won the bid because it was the only one that mentioned pregnancy.

OJJDP documents show that Flores used several such criteria and priorities in awarding most of the $8.6 million under that grant competition, which is now under congressional investigation. In another example, Flores told Justice Department officials that the World Golf Association won a grant because it was the “highest” scoring bid that focused on sports, but did not mention that there appeared to be only one other sports bid. Youth Today said the agency's credibility has been damaged among juvenile justice officials and service providers. Flores is trying to restrict which documents Justice provides to the House committee that began an investigation following the magazine’s expose of the bidding process.


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