Petition Closed

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act provides funding and guidelines for youth caught in the criminal justice system. It is up for reauthorization in Congress, and it needs to be strengthened in specific ways.

Send the letter below, drafted by Act 4 Juvenile Justice, to urge your representatives to take positive steps to fix and maintain our juvenile justice system.

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
I'm writing to urge you to include the following eight recommendations in the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). These recommendations are grounded in recent research in the juvenile justice field, including research conducted by the Department of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other national and state organizations. The recommendations will also provide momentum for positive progress in the juvenile justice field and help protect the rights of youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

The recommendations are as follows:

1. Extend the jail removal and sight and sound separation core protections to all youth under the age of 18 held pretrial, whether charged in juvenile or adult court.

2. Change the definition of “adult inmate” to allow certain States to continue to place youth
convicted in adult court in juvenile facilities rather than adult prisons without jeopardizing
federal funding.

3. Strengthen the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) core protection by requiring States
to take concrete steps to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.

4. Strengthen the Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders (DSO) core protection, which
prohibits the locked detention of status offenders, by removing the Valid Court Order and
Interstate Compact exceptions.

5. Provide safe and humane conditions of confinement for youth in state and/or local custody by restricting use of JJDPA funds for dangerous practices and encouraging States to promote
adoption of best practices and standards.

6. Assist States in coming into compliance with the JJDPA and establish Incentive Grants to
encourage States to adopt evidence-based or promising best practices that improve outcomes for youth and their communities.

7. Enhance the partnership between States and the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) by expanding training, technical assistance, research, and
evaluation and the partnership between OJJDP and Congress by encouraging transparency,
timeliness, public notice, and communication.

8. Expand juvenile crime prevention efforts by reauthorizing and increasing funding for JJDPA
Title V and Mentoring.

Thank you for listening to my concerns on this issue.