Last week more than 80 organizations, including CWLA, started to recirculate a letter of support for S 1169 a bill to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The legislation introduced early last year and passed out of committee is sponsored by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). If enacted, it would reauthorize the JJ DPA for the first time since 2002.
There was an effort late last year to move the bill through a Senate unanimous consent or voice vote agreement but it was blocked. There is hope that the Senate bipartisan measure which makes several reforms in the JJDPA can get adopted this year despite the shrinking congressional calendar. As stated in the letter, there are more than 60,000 young people across the country held in detention centers awaiting trial or confined by the courts in juvenile facilities.
The bill if interacted would create several reforms including a strengthening of the deinstitutionalization of status offenders. The measure also gives states and localities clearer direction on how to address disproportionality in the juvenile justice system and encourages states to eliminate dangerous confinement practices.