House to Vote on Juvenile Justice Reform

September 20, 2016 6:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The House is scheduled to vote today on the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act, which would update and expand the legal protections in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The act would strengthen the standards that keep youth out of the criminal justice system.

Jennifer Bellamy, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, had this comment:

“Young people and their families need the reforms in this bipartisan bill. This legislation would add critical power to the existing federal law protecting our young people from entering the criminal justice system unnecessarily. Its provisions would help keep vulnerable youth out of the justice system and work to reduce racial disparities in the juvenile justice population. And it would eliminate the current law’s exceptions that allow some children accused of minor offenses to be incarcerated. We urge our representatives to vote yes.”

A letter from ACT4JJ, a coalition supporting the bill, can be found here:

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Youth are still developing, so as a result society treats kids and adults differently in several contexts, such as driving and serving in the military. Yet in the criminal justice system, we treat youth as adults.