Friday, December 18, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition

Juvenile Justice

De-Criminalizing Children
The New York Times, New York, NY - December 17, 2009
As many as 150,000 children are sent to adult jails in this country every year — often in connection with nonviolent offenses or arrests that do not lead to conviction. That places them at risk of being raped or battered and increases the chance they will end up as career criminals. To fix this problem, Congress needs to properly reauthorize the Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974, under which states agreed to humanize juvenile justice policies in exchange for more federal aid. This act was largely bypassed in the 1990s when unfounded fears of an adolescent crime wave reached hysterical levels.

Jailing juveniles, Sensible fixes to youth crime and delinquency policies

The Washington Post, Washington, DC - December 14, 2009

The Senate Judiciary Committee should embrace a bill scheduled for debate on Thursday that institutes needed reforms in how the nation deals with youth who run afoul of the law.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act does not impose federal strictures on state and local entities, but it provides funds for those that choose to comply with the legislation's guidelines. In this way, the Justice Department, which administers the act, can provide incentives to states to comply with what it considers best practices.

Senate Panel Reports Juvenile Justice Reauthorization Legislation
Press Release, Washington, DC - December 17, 2009
Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday reported bipartisan legislation to reauthorize expiring programs implemented to protect America’s youth. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act was introduced in March by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and senior Committee members Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.). The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act (JJDPA) is the result of more than a year of work among Senate leaders and advocacy groups. The provisions in the legislation will help state and local governments reduce crime and curb recidivism rates among juveniles by authorizing federal funding of prevention, intervention and treatment programs for youths. The bill reported Thursday aims to balance federal support for state programs while respecting the individual criminal justice policies of states.

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