The House followed the Senate in approving a five-year reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), handing a win to youth advocates who have fought to update the legislation for 16 years. “It’s huge,” says Marcy Mistrett of the Campaign for Youth Justice.
The Florida Times-Union spent more than 20 months examining the causes of juvenile homicide in Jacksonville. A central finding based on listening to the people who committed the crimes, was the critical role played by trauma and other adverse childhood experiences.
The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act has not been reauthorized since 2002. The Senate finally approved a new measure that Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) says will “improve accountability measures in the federal juvenile justice grant program.”
Juveniles under the age of 17 will no longer be prosecuted as adults under a state law that went into effect Oct. 1. But since the law isn’t retroactive, thousands of young people arrested earlier are caught in the old system—with potentially devastating consequences, advocates say.
African-American teens in Pennsylvania’s second-most populous county were 20 times more likely than their white peers to be arrested and charged as adults in 2016 and 2017, according to a newspaper investigation.
The large number of federal judicial openings this year represents an opportunity to pick judges who can make sure police live up to legal precedents that prevent them from treating young people as adults, argue two youth advocates.
The U.S. Justice Department is rolling back a rule that states keep data on racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. Several states will compile them anyway. Black girls are overrepresented in the system.
The First Step bill isn’t the only piece of justice legislation stalled in Congress. A bill to overhaul the Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act—affecting 45,000 children held in custody– is still awaiting the Senate’s OK.
New York has finally joined other states in barring 16- and 17-year-olds who get in trouble with the law from being tried as adults. But now officials are scrambling to find a secure place to house them and keep them out of the justice system.