Youth advocates are lamenting continued congressional cuts in federal aid for state programs that would prevent young people from being locked up for skipping school, keep young offenders from being held in adult prisons, and reduce the disproportionate numbers of minority youth in jail, reports Youth Today. Since 2002, funds available for states to implement Title II of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act have been cut by more than half from $88.8 million, says the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice.
Current funding levels for Title II — whose four core requirements aim to protect young people from being unfairly confined in prison — are at $40 million. The White House requested $70 million for the fiscal 2013, an amount unlikely to pass Congress. If federal funds shrink further, states will have little incentive to meet federal guidelines for keeping juveniles out of the adult prison system, said Liz Ryan of the D.C.-based advocacy organization Campaign for Youth Justice. Budgetary woes underlay much of the discussions at the annual conference held by Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington, D.C., last month.