Message to the Congress Reporting on Federal Juvenile Delinquency Programs

February 25, 1987

To the Congress of the United States:

The Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has recently submitted to me a copy of the Tenth Analysis and Evaluation of Federal Juvenile Delinquency Programs as required by Section 204(b)(5) of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (P.L. 93 - 415), as amended. This letter fulfills the statutory requirement to respond to the Congress concerning this document and its recommendations.

This year's report and its recommendations focus on encouraging public-private partnerships. The objective is to target the specific needs of each community while encountering fewer layers of bureaucracy and decreasing the dependency on Federal dollars.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Program has been effective, channeling almost one billion dollars since 1975 into various programs authorized by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Over the years, with the aid of these resources, the States have been able to accomplish the primary goals of deinstitutionalization of status offenders and the separation of juvenile and adult offenders at the State and local levels. In addition, many successful demonstration programs have been implemented in jurisdictions across the country. We, therefore, think that it is time to turn over the responsibility for continuing these programs to the State and local communities who benefit from them.

Several of the OJJDP's recommendations will go a long way toward making the transition from total reliance on Federal funds. Interagency cooperation and efforts to provide coordinated juvenile justice activities will ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. This is key because although we are proposing termination of OJJDP, there are still other Federal agencies that will be providing services and programs benefitting juveniles. Also, the Administrator recommends encouraging the involvement of States, community groups, volunteers, public-private partnerships, and the private sector in protecting society and reducing juvenile crime.

However, simply because we propose terminating this Federal grant program it would be a mistake to conclude that the Administration's commitment to a strong criminal justice system is less than complete. Rather, we have sought improvements to those elements of the criminal justice system where we believe the Federal government has a legitimate responsibility. Indeed, it is precisely because of our strong commitment to improving the criminal justice system that we continually search for scarce Federal dollars. Accordingly, Federal funding for the administration of justice has greatly expanded during my Administration. While 1982 funding totaled $4.7 billion, as measured in outlays, my 1988 budget provides $9.2 billion. This is an increase of almost 100 percent.

The report sets forth six recommendations for improving Federal juvenile delinquency prevention policy. I can assure you that each of the recommendations will be implemented to the extent possible with respect to funds appropriated in fiscal year 1987.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

February 25, 1987.