September 02, 2008

Crapo Seeks Answers On Teen Crime Grants

Writes Justice Department seeking explanation on teen violence, crime programs

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo wants officials with the U.S. Department of Justice to explain why a highly-effective program dealing with juvenile crime and violence was not funded by the department for Fiscal Year 2007. Crapo wrote a letter to the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), J. Robert Flores, last week and asked for a response within 30 days.

The program in question is the National Partnership for Juvenile Services (NPJS), which uses federal grant dollars to coordinate technical assistance and training for personnel and authorities in the fields of juvenile justice and corrections. Crapo noted that staff with the Justice Department's OJJDP rated it second out of over 100 groups applying for grant dollars. Yet, the program was not funded under the budget decisions made by the Justice Department for Fiscal Year 2007.

Crapo noted internal reviews have given the program high marks. "Programs that assist those working to stop teen dating violence, address local juvenile crime programs and prevent teen crime are succeeding across the country," Crapo said. "I don't understand why an apparently successful and highly-rated program like this one goes unfunded, and I am seeking further explanation from the Justice Department."

OJJDP funding has been used to bring in expert assistance regarding a new juvenile detention center in Bonner County, to provide statewide training on specific liability and detention issues for those working with juveniles in the justice system and to increase technical assistance for juvenile detention needs. It has also been used to bring in nationally-recognized experts to speak to state conferences on juvenile justice.

"Since 2001 in Idaho alone, the juvenile justice community has used OJJDP funding to provide over 23,000 training hours to staff and trainers at its juvenile justice facilities," wrote Crapo, a member of the Senate Budget Committee and longtime advocate for programs seeking to stop domestic violence and teen dating violence. "Without the necessary and well-deserved grant funding for FY2007, these programs did not receive this critical training and technical assistance for the coming fiscal year."