Juvenile Justice Updates

2014 Legislative Conference
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Jessica Seitz
Education Policy Analyst
National PTA
Elizabeth Ysla-Leight
PTA Legislative Committee
Carmen Daugherty
Policy Director
Campaign for Youth Justice
1. PTA & Juvenile Justice
a. History and Position Statement
2. Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)
a. Overview
b. Core Protections
c. PTA Recommendations to Congress
3. Juvenile Justice Updates
a. On the Hill
b. In the Courts
c. In the States
4. Q&A
PTA & Juvenile Justice: History
• 1899: PTA convention delegates pass first juvenile
justice-related resolution supporting the extension
of juvenile courts and probation systems to prevent
children from being incarcerated with adults
• 1903: PTA establishes Committee on Juvenile
• 1950s-1960s: PTA mobilizes members to advocate
for policies that place less emphasis on
incarceration, calling instead for increased
supportive services and protection of all children
PTA’s Position Statement on Juvenile Justice
Promote initiatives to address racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic
inequities in the juvenile justice system.
Encourage collaboration between law enforcement, the judicial system,
and child welfare agencies.
Promote alternative dispute resolution techniques that provide a range
of possible sanctions.
Prohibit youth who are charged with a serious crime from being tried in
the adult court system unless there has been an opportunity for a
judicial hearing and appeal.
Prohibit the incarceration of youth in adult facilities.
Assist youth leaving the juvenile justice system and prevent their
Support research and data collection regarding youth offenses.
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
(JJDPA): Overview and Key Dates
• 1974: JJDPA enacted
• 2002: Most recent reauthorization of the JJDPA
• 2007: JJDPA becomes eligible for reauthorization
• 2009: Most recent introduction of JJDPA
reauthorization (passed Senate committee)
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
JJDPA Core Protections
1. Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders
(DSO) (1974)
2. Sight and Sound Separation (1974)
3. Jail Removal (1980)
4. Disproportionate Minority Contact (1992)
JJDPA Core Protections
Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders (DSO)
Definition: Requires that youth with status offenses not be
placed in secure detention or confinement.
Limitations: Valid Court Order (VCO) exception
PTA Recommendations for DSO Improvement:
1. Eliminate the VCO exception to ensure that youth who
commit status offenses are kept out of facilities.
2. Update the JJDPA to decrease overreliance on youth
incarceration and out-of-home-placement by promoting familyfocused and school-based interventions for truant youth.
JJDPA Core Protections
Removal of Juveniles from Adult Jails and
Lockups (“Jail Removal”)
• Definition: Prohibits, under most circumstances,
the detention of juveniles in adult jails or lockups.
• Limitations:
• Does not protect juveniles that are waived to
adult court
• Juveniles can be held for up to six hours for
processing and for 24 hours (plus weekends and
holidays) in rural areas
JJDPA Core Protections
Juvenile Sight and Sound Separation
• Definition: Requires that accused and
adjudicated delinquents, status offenders,
and non-offending juveniles be kept out of
the “sight and sound” of adult inmates.
• Limitations: Does not apply to youth
prosecuted in the adult criminal justice
PTA Recommendations for Juvenile Sight and
Sound Separation & Jail Removal Improvement
1. Codify the definition of “adult inmate” in the
JJDPA to allow states to place children convicted in
adult court into juvenile facilities.
2. Extend the Jail Removal and Sight and Sound
Separation core protection of the JJDPA to all
children under 18 years of age who are held
pretrial, regardless of whether they are charged in
juvenile or adult court.
JJDPA Core Protections
Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)
• Definition: Requires states to take measures
to reduce racial/ethnic disparities in the
juvenile justice system.
PTA Recommendations for DMC Improvement:
Strengthen the DMC core protection by requiring
states to take concrete steps to reduce racial and
ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system
Other PTA Juvenile Justice Recommendations
Create a National Technical Assistance Center on
Family Engagement to provide support to state and
local justice and child-serving agencies interested in
starting or growing family engagement programs in
the juvenile justice system.
Reauthorize the Second Chance Act–an important
source of funding for youth reentry programs across
the nation.
PTA Takes Action
On the Hill, In the Courts, In the States
On the Hill
• JJDPA Reauthorization
• Second Chance Act Reauthorization
• Prohibiting Detention of Youth Status
Offenders Act
In the Courts: Miller v. Alabama (2012)
• Ruling: Mandatory life
without the possibility of
parole unconstitutional
when applied to those
under the age of 18 at
the time of their crimes.
• PTA Takes Action: How
PTAs can be involved at
the court-level.
In the States: Great Progress!
Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice
Key issues in Juvenile Justice: Overreliance on incarceration
On any given day, over 42,000 youth are held in in juvenile detention
facilities, corrections facilities, group homes or shelters.
Financial implications:
• The cost to incarcerate an individual for 9 months is between
$66,000 and $88,000
• $7.1 million dollars are spent every day to lock up youth in adult
• Alternatives to incarcerating youth not only reduce crime, but save
money. Every $1 spent on evidence-based programs can yield up to
$13 in cost savings.
Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice
System: Key Trends
Trend 1: Removing youth from adult jails and
Trend 2: Changing the age of juvenile court
Trend 3: Changing transfer laws to keep more
youth in juvenile court
Trend 4: Modifying youth sentencing laws
Eleven limited the state’s authority to
house youth in adult jails and prisons:
Four expanded juvenile court jurisdiction so that older
youth who previously would be automatically tried as
adults are not prosecuted in adult criminal court
Eleven changed transfer laws to make it more
likely that youth will stay in the juvenile justice
Eight changed their mandatory minimum
sentencing laws, allowed for post-sentence
review for youth facing juvenile life without
parole, or passed other sentencing reforms
Jessica Seitz
Education Policy Analyst
National PTA
[email protected]
Office: (703) 518-1249
Cell: (405) 664-3093

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