U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.


Department of Justice Awards More Than $136 Million to Support Youth and Reform the Juvenile Justice System

WASHINGTON ― The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs today announced awards totaling more than $136 million to reform state and local juvenile justice systems, provide youth violence prevention and intervention services, support mentoring programs and reentry services for young people and their families, meet the needs of vulnerable youth and study outcomes for justice-involved youth.

“The path to durable and sustainable community safety solutions, and ultimately to a just and equitable society, includes evidence-informed strategies that support youth and steer them away from arrest and incarceration when possible,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon. “By investing in reforms to the juvenile justice system, providing mentors for youth and helping young people find a path forward, we are helping the next generation claim a future filled with opportunity and hope.”

The grants announced today, administered by OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and National Institute of Justice, support a range of programs and activities designed to meet the needs of youth who come into contact or are at risk of contact with the justice system. Funding supports mentoring; youth violence prevention strategies; juvenile indigent defense programs; treatment for youth leaving foster care; and services for girls in the justice system, Alaska Native youth and LGBTQI+ and Two-Spirit youth.

Grants under OJJDP’s Title II program also support state-wide measures to protect youth who are in the care of state juvenile justice systems, help keep them safe and prepare them for successful reentry upon release. Three research grants from NIJ will estimate and examine outcomes for youth with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders and outcomes associated with youth who receive legal representation.

“The road to a more humane and effective juvenile justice system begins with a collective commitment to keeping young people out of the system altogether, by intervening early with youth who are vulnerable to system involvement and then working to guarantee that the system operates fairly and is supportive of their growth and development,” said OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan. “These investments deliver on a pledge to put youth first and to make contact with the system rare, fair and beneficial for those it is intended to serve.”

A recent analysis of 2020 data from OJJDP and NIJ revealed that youth arrests for violent crime were down 78% from their peak in 1994. It found that people aged 17 and younger accounted for just 7% of all arrests for violent crime. Administrator Ryan has outlined three priorities designed to build on these successes and continue the trend away from youth involvement in the juvenile justice system: treating children as children; serving them in their homes, with their families and in their communities; and opening opportunities for system-involved youth. Each of these priorities is guided by a commitment to racial equity and to hearing directly from youth and families impacted by the justice system about their needs.

Below is a list of awards being made to support youth and reform the juvenile justice system. Descriptions of individual awards can be found by clicking on the links.

  • OJJDP is awarding $44.6 million to support the Title II Formula Grant Program, which supports state and local delinquency prevention and intervention efforts and juvenile justice system improvements.
  • OJJDP is awarding $2.4 million under its Juvenile Justice System Reform and Reinvestment Initiative to support states' implementation of innovative and/or research-based, data-informed recidivism-reduction policies, practices and programs. An additional $1 million will support training and technical assistance.
  • OJJDP is awarding $1.1 million under the Youth Violence Prevention Program, which supports the development and implementation of youth violence prevention strategies for middle and high school age youth and/or youth with multiple risk factors for violence.
  • OJJDP is awarding $43 million under its National Mentoring Programs initiative and an additional $26.3 million under the Multistate Mentoring Programs Initiative, both of which support the implementation and delivery of mentoring services to youth who are at risk for delinquency, victimization and juvenile justice system involvement. An additional $2.7 million will fund the National Mentoring Resource Center to enhance the capacity of mentoring organizations to develop, implement and expand effective mentoring practices across the nation.
  • OJJDP is awarding $2.5 million under the Enhancing Juvenile Indigent Defense initiative, which is designed t o ensure that youth involved in the juvenile justice system have access to high-quality legal representation and to resources that address the collateral consequences of justice system involvement.
  • OJJDP is awarding $200,000 under its Arts Programs for Justice-Involved Youth initiative, which will support high-quality arts programs for justice-involved youth to reduce juvenile delinquency, recidivism and/or other problem and high-risk behaviors.
  • OJJDP is awarding $2.2 million under its Family Based Alternative Sentencing Program, which supports states and communities as they develop and implement effective alternative sentencing programs for parents/primary caregivers in the criminal justice system to improve child, parent and family outcomes.
  • NIJ is awarding $1.3 million to support Research on Juvenile Justice Topics, to examine prevalence of and outcomes for youth with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders and to study outcomes associated with youth defense delivery systems.

In addition to the awards listed above, OJJDP separately awarded more than $18 million in grants to support youth returning from confinement facilities, meet the needs of incarcerated parents and their minor children, and fund alternative sentencing programs for parents and primary caregivers in the justice system. Those grants were part of nearly $100 million in OJP investments aimed at reducing recidivism and supporting reentry.

The awards announced above are being made as part of the regular end-of-fiscal year cycle. More information about these and other OJP awards can be found on the OJP Grant Awards Page.

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and strengthen the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.


OFFICE: ojjdp.ojp.gov
CONTACT: Kara McCarthy at 202-307-1241 or [email protected]

Date Published: November 1, 2022