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U.S. House of House of Representatives Overwhelmingly Passes H.R. 5963 to Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act

Posted in 2016 Press Releases

WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2016)-- Yesterday, the U.S. House of House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for the passage of H.R. 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act of 2016, which strengthens and updates the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA).

The measure passed with a vote of 382 to 29. The act, which was originally introduced by the Education and Workforce Committee, garnered support from both Republicans and Democrats.

The bill is an update of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which has been expired since 2007. It would withhold federal funding from states that hold minors in adult jails. Unlike previous versions of the law, the new bill would extend that protection to juveniles who have been charged with adult crimes but are still awaiting trial

Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on September 7, 1974, and most recently reauthorized in 2002, the JJDPA embodies a partnership between the federal government and the U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia to protect children and youth in the juvenile and criminal justice system, to effectively address high-risk and delinquent behavior and to improve community safety.

More than eight years overdue for reauthorization, the JJDPA is the only federal statute that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system and provides direction and support for state juvenile justice system improvements.

H.R. 5963 would build upon these national standards by reducing the placement of youth in adult jails pre-trial, providing more structure to the law’s requirement to decrease racial and ethnic disparities, and calling on states to phase out exceptions that allow the detention of youth who have engaged in status offense behaviors. The bill also promotes the use of alternatives to incarceration; supports the implementation of trauma-informed, evidence-based practices; calls for the elimination of dangerous practices in confinement, including eliminating the use of restraints on pregnant girls; improves conditions and educational services for incarcerated youth; focuses on the particular needs of special youth population such as trafficked youth and Tribal youth; and increases accountability.

The ACT4JJ Coalition would like to thank everyone for their support in achieving this milestone and for the wide bipartisan support received.

For more information go to www.ACT4JJ.org.


About Act 4 Juvenile Justice - Act 4 Juvenile Justice (ACT4JJ) is a campaign of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), which represents over 80 national organizations who work on youth development and juvenile justice issues. ACT4JJ is composed of juvenile justice, child welfare and youth development organizations advocating for the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and increased federal funding for juvenile justice programs and services.

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