The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 69

Juvenile Crime Control And Delinquency Prevention Act Of 1997

15 July 1997

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Congressional Record (Page H5210)   Cached

1997 Ron Paul 69:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, juvenile crime is a problem that should concern all Americans. As a doctor of obstetrics I have enjoyed the privilege of bringing more than 3,000 new lives into the world, I know there are few things more tragic than when a young person disregards the rights of their fellow citizens and jeopardizes their own future by engaging in criminal activity. Furthermore, as the number and severity of crimes committed by juvenile offenders increase, juvenile crime becomes a greater threat to the social order.

1997 Ron Paul 69:2
Therefore, no one can argue the need for action taken to discourage juveniles from embarking on criminal careers. However, the voluntary actions of private individuals, supported by local communities and State governments, are much more capable of preventing juvenile crime than the Federal Government. Individuals acting at the local level know the needs of the youths in their community much better than Washington bureaucrats, so they can best develop programs that effectively prevent children from engaging in criminal activity.

1997 Ron Paul 69:3
Unfortunately, the Juvenile Crime Control and Delinquency Prevention Act—H.R. 1818— furthers Congress’ unconstitutional interference in crime control and prevention by dictating the nature and shape of juvenile crime programs for each of the 50 States. Therefore, Congress should reject H.R. 1818 and instead repeal all mandates that interfere with the States’ sovereign right to conduct juvenile prevention programs, and defund all Federal crime control and prevention programs, in order to return money and, at the same time authority, for juvenile crime prevention where it constitutionally belongs: To the States or to the people.

1997 Ron Paul 69:4
H.R. 1818 provides States with—two Federal block grants for juvenile crime, a formula-part B—grant and a prevention—part C grant. Some proponents of the act claim that this bill is worthy of support as it loosens the chains on State juvenile prevention programs imposed by previous Congresses. However, any federally imposed mandate, no matter how flexible, violates the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1997 Ron Paul 69:5
The 10 amendment limits the Federal Government to those functions explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. Other than in these few areas, the States are sovereign. Therefore the Federal Government has no authority to finance or manage State programs regarding social problems such as juvenile crime.

1997 Ron Paul 69:6
Block grants may appear to allow for greater State autonomy than programs directly controlled by Washington, but they still involve Federal control and, more importantly, financing. Taxing the people of Texas to pay for programs in New York or Montana is an insult to the Constitution and the donor States.

1997 Ron Paul 69:7
Under the part B mandate, States must comply with four core Federal mandates to receive Federal tax dollars. The Federal Government would have the power to reduce a State’s funding if a State failed to comply with one of these mandates. When the Federal Government assumes the power to reduce funding according to the State’s level of compliance with the Federal mandates, it transforms the relationship between the States and the Federal Government from one of two sovereign entities into one resembling that of a teacher scolding a disobedient pupil.

1997 Ron Paul 69:8
Furthermore, Federal mandates employ a one-size-fits-all model, which ignores differences between individual States and between various areas within a State. For example, there may be areas that will incur tremendous costs in removing a juvenile from an adult facility within 48 hours. Complying with this Federal mandate may thus divert an area’s resources from other projects that may better serve the needs of that particular jurisdiction’s youth.

1997 Ron Paul 69:9
H.R. 1818 also lists permissible uses for which the States may expend their federally provided funds. One of these permissible uses of Federal funds is for programs aimed at preventing hate crimes by juveniles. Preventing crimes based on prejudice is certainly a worthy goal, however, by punishing certain crimes more harshly than others because of this motivation, the government is, in effect, punishing people for holding certain views. Punishment for one’s thoughts, as distinct from one’s actions, is in conflict with the constitutional guarantees against government restrictions on freedom of speech and thought. Federal tax money certainly should not be spent to encourage localities to disregard the first amendment in the name of crime control.

1997 Ron Paul 69:10
H.R. 1818 also encourages States to create a system of records for juvenile criminals similar to that kept by each State on adult criminals, including the transmission of those records to the FBI. Given the recent controversy over the misuse of FBI files, all citizens should be wary of expanding the records kept on private citizens by the FBI, particularly given the conspicuous lack of language in the bill guarantying that someone who committed a crime as a juvenile but reformed oneself to become a respected member of the community will not be haunted by his past because some vengeful person acquired his FBI file.

1997 Ron Paul 69:11
H.R. 1818 also provides States with a second block grant, not contingent upon compliance with the four Federal mandates. Under this block grant, States distribute their funds to local governments and private organizations to run prevention programs. While States do not have to comply with any specific Federal mandates to receive these funds, they do have to submit a plan to the Federal Government for approval.

1997 Ron Paul 69:12
States may distribute funds only to those local governments that have taken the time and effort to prepare a comprehensive plan for combating juvenile crime. Organizations with prevention programs that wish to receive Federal funding must submit a plan to their local unit of government. Organizations must meet the goals of the local plan and include the goals of the program, the means of measuring their goals, and any research relied upon in developing their application. Before they can begin serving children, after the local government approves the plan, it must be submitted to the State government for approval. If the State government approves the plan, the operations may begin. Surely, States, communities, and local citizens could design a less bureaucratic system to help get funds to worthy programs serving juveniles than the system outlined in this bill.

1997 Ron Paul 69:13
Among the organizations that may apply for funding under H.R. 1818 are faith-based organizations. I have little doubt that instilling a child with a deep and abounding faith is, second to a loving family, the best way to ensure that child refrains from criminal activities. However, allowing faith-based organizations access to Federal taxpayer dollars may change those organizations into lobbyists who will compromise their core beliefs rather than risk alienating Members of Congress and thus losing their Federal funds. Thus, allowing faith-based organizations to receive Federal funds may undermine both future attempts to reduce the Federal role in juvenile crime and undermine America’s tradition of nonestablishment of religion.

1997 Ron Paul 69:14
The drafters of the Bill of Rights knew quite well that it would be impossible for a central government to successfully manage juvenile prevention programs for as large and diverse a country as America. The founders also understood that Federal involvement in crime prevention and control would lead to a loss of precious liberty.

1997 Ron Paul 69:15
The current system of sending money to Washington, only to return it, in part, to the States, local communities, and individual citizens, serves only to drain resources away from those best able to create and manage effective juvenile crime programs; people at the local level who know best the needs of the children in that area.

1997 Ron Paul 69:16
Forcing States to comply with Federal mandates and forcing local providers to comply with Federal paperwork requirements is a further waste of valuable resources that could be used to directly benefit the area’s youth.

1997 Ron Paul 69:17
Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1818 insults the constitutional sovereignty of the individual State, and continues Federal involvement in crime prevention and control. Therefore, all Representatives who support the Federal system as specified in the original Constitution should oppose the Juvenile Crime Control and Delinquency Prevention Act.


1997 Ron Paul Chapter 69
The text of this chapter was inserted into Congressional Record and was not spoken on the House floor.

1997 Ron Paul 69:5
10 amendment is apparently a typographical error and also should be 10th Amendment.

1997 Ron Paul 69:9
first amendment should be capitalized: First Amendment.

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