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2019 NJJN Member Youth Justice Advances

As COVID-19 continues its march across the country, youth, families, and advocates are in the forefront of the struggle to decarcerate as quickly as possible in order to protect youth from the even more significant dangers now posed by confinement. Through this publication, NJJN seeks to recognize and draw awareness to the legislative advances made by our members across the country in 2019 – advances which are helping to benefit and protect youth in many ways, including reducing justice system involvement and confinement.

In a promising trend, we saw many states pass legislation to help keep youth from getting through the front door of the justice system. States passed legislation expanding access to courtappointed counsel (NV, UT); expanding the factors for establishing incompetence for trial (UT); decriminalizing alcohol (DE) and drug (IL) possession; granting authority for the police to issue warnings in lieu of arrest (LA); reinvesting funds gained from reducing confinement into community-based programs (AR, CA, KS, UT); and tackling the school-to-prison pipeline (Boston, IL, LA, NE, TX, and VA).

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