For the first time since 2002, both the House and Senate reauthorized the landmark Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the federal law that sets standards for states on the care and treatment of youth in the justice system.Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), Pub. L. No. 93-415, 42 U.S.C. §5601 et seq. If the Senate and House can resolve differences in the bill—and if President Trump signs it—the JJDPA will get its first update in 16 years.
The House and Senate bills are consistent in their redefinitions of certain terms, inclusion of new protections to limit the number of youth held in adult jails and lockups, alterations to compliance monitoring, and requirements that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention establish a national measure of recidivism.Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017, HR 1809, 115th Congress (2017-2018); Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2017, S 860, 115th Congress (2017-2018); and John Kelly, “Juvenile Justice Reauthorization: What’s in Both Bills,” Chronicle for Social Change, August 8, 2017.
Among the key differences that lawmakers will need to work out, however, are the Senate’s desire for a three-year phaseout of the valid court order exception, the House’s preference to terminate block grants to the states and replace them with a different distribution scheme, and which proposed process will be used for auditing grantees.John Kelly, “Bills to Watch: Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Legislation in 2018,” Chronicle for Social Change, September 13, 2017.