The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) became law in 1974,and was amended in 2002. Rhode Island has been an active participant since 1975 and receives appropriations annually. Grant funds may be used for many purposes related to delinquency prevention and improvement of the juvenile justice system. Funding recommendations are developed by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) and then approved by the Public Safety Grant Administration Policy Board.
The goal of the JJAC is to carry out the mandates of the JJDPA Act:
Rhode Island’s primary focus for the Title II Formula Grants Program continues to be the improvement of the Rhode Island juvenile justice system and the ability to respond to juvenile offending behaviors quickly and effectively. Rhode Island continues to maintain compliance with the core protections afforded youth under the JJDP Act.
Rhode Island attempts to move towards a developmental approach to juvenile justice in developing alternatives to justice system involvement and incarceration through the use of specialty court programs and juvenile hearing boards. These various efforts attempt to narrow the entry to the juvenile justice system.
Also, as part of the effort to maintain compliance with the Core Requirements, Rhode Island’s JDAI/Annie E. Casey Foundation project has been partnering with the DMC initiative to include specialized subcommittees and projects with goals and accomplishments in line with reducing racial and ethnic disparities and creating cultural competency in the juvenile justice system.
Gina M. Tocco
When Congress enacted the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) in 1974, it recognized that the success of the federal involvement in juvenile justice would rest on the shoulders of committed and experienced individuals at the state and local level. The State Advisory Groups or SAGs were made an integral part of the JJDPA to allow this experience, commitment and local perspective to play a significant role in delinquency prevention and juvenile justice reform. The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) is Rhode Island's SAG.
The citizen members of the JJAC are appointed by the Governor. Appointees come from the public and private sectors and represent a broad cross-section of experience and philosophy and are representative of all the geographic regions of the state. As the Governor's appointees, the JJAC membership has the credibility and influence necessary to work effectively with local communities and organizations. The experience of the JJAC membership allows it to effectively assess the particular problems and needs of the local communities, to develop sensible priorities and to identify, support and monitor those who develop and operate the programs and activities funded by federal dollars. The experience and dedication of volunteer members of citizen advocacy groups is vital to the effective and efficient use of the federal grant dollars. With their ties to local communities, state and local organizations, JJAC members are able to generate a local investment in the fight against youth crime which often translates to a financial investment from state and local government. By leveraging federal funds with these other resources, the JJAC has been able to maximize the impact of the JJDPA formula grant "seed" money.