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JJDPA Passes!

December 13, 2018

Congress Passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)! 

On December 13th Congress passed H.R. 6964 reauthorizing the JJDPA! It has taken many years, many different bills, and a great deal of advocacy to get this done. We thank Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Congressman Jason Lewis (R-MN) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA)for their sponsorship and leadership on the JJDPA. We also thank Dr. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, for her role in helping to spearhead the legislation. Passage was not a foregone conclusion but was due to the hard work of our congressional leaders and the tireless advocacy of all of you who have continued to tweet, call, and activate yournetworks for many months and years!  

This bill makes many important updates to the law. Please view our press release below that highlights some of these changes and this fact sheet from the national coalition and this fact sheet from CJJ and NCJA, both of which detail additional provisions in the bill.  

For Immediate Release

December 13, 2018
Melissa Coretz Goemann
Senior Policy Counsel, NJJN
(202) 630-3285
Congress Passes Bipartisan Reauthorization of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)

New bill reauthorizes JJDPA and extends additional protections to children and youth in the juvenile justice system

Washington DC - Today, members Congress passed H.R. 6964, a bill to reauthorize and strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). This measure will promote fairness, ensure state compliance with safe treatment standards, and strengthen delinquency prevention measures.
"We're thrilled that Congress has come together to take action to reauthorize the JJDPA, which is long overdue," said Sarah Bryer, director of the National Juvenile Justice Network. "The leadership of Senators Grassley and Whitehouse and Representatives Lewis and Scott has helped to ensure that stronger federal standards and supports are in place for improving juvenile justice and delinquency prevention practices, and contributing to safeguards for youth, families and communities."

For more than four decades the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has had a profound impact on how our youth justice systems operate by providing federal guidance and standards on the safe and equitable treatment of youth in every state, U.S. territory, the District of Columbia, and tribes. The JJDPA was last reauthorized by Congress in 2002. H.R. 6964 helps update the law by strengthening the core protection requiring states to address racial and ethnic disparities and requiring states to extend, within 3 years, the jail removal and sight and sound core requirements to keep youth awaiting trial in criminal court out of adult lock-ups and to ensure sight and sound separation in the limited circumstances where they are held in adult facilities. The bill is also informed by new developments that have taken place in juvenile justice since it was last reauthorized. For example, it requires that the state plans be supported by or take into account scientific knowledge on adolescent brain development and behavior, and that plans provide alternatives to detention for status offenses, engage family members in the design and delivery of prevention and treatment services, use community-based services, and promote evidence-based and trauma-informed programs and practices. Finally, the bill requires states to develop and implement a plan to eliminate the use of restraints on pregnant, confined youth.
The National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) leads a movement of state-based juvenile justice reform organizations and alumni of its Youth Justice Leadership Institute to fight for a fairer youth justice system that's appropriate for youth and their families. NJJN advocates for policies and practices that treat youth in trouble with the law with dignity and humanity and which strengthen them, their families and their communities. Founded in 2005, NJJN is currently comprised of 53 organizational members in 43 states and the District of Columbia and a growing cadre of graduates from our Youth Justice Leadership Institute.

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