After 16 Years, Senate OK’s Juvenile Justice Law

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It took 16 years, but the U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved a reauthorization of the landmark Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, says Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley said the legislation, which is expected to be approved by the House soon and sent to President Trump, will provide “new protections for minors and improve accountability measures in the federal juvenile justice grant program.” Grassley commended Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) for his help in getting the bill passed.

Grassley said the measure includes “important new accountability measures that protect taxpayer dollars and prevent states from being rewarded when failing to provide the minimum standard of protections for minors.” It also will help reduce the unnecessary incarceration of youth, improve safeguards for minors who enter the justice system and strengthen services that encourage a smooth transition back into society. Other major provisions, according to Grassley, will improve treatment for juvenile offenders with mental illness and substance abuse issues, encourage states to report and reduce racial and ethnic disparities for youth in the juvenile justice system and support alternatives to incarceration, such as problem-solving courts. The U.S. Justice Department recently cut back its oversight of state monitoring of “disproportionate minority contact” in the juvenile justice system under the federal law being reauthorized.

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