Home News Center Federal Juvenile Justice Update - January 2019

Federal Juvenile Justice Update - January 2019

January 28, 2019
Melissa Goemann

Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act (JJDPA)

After fighting to get the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) reauthorized for over a decade, we were thrilled when Congress passed  H.R. 6964 with overwhelming bipartisan support in December and the President signed it into law on December 21st! Thank you to all of our members, partners, and allies who contributed so much over the years to get this done. The new law strengthens the JJDPA’s core protections for youth and makes other significant improvements that reflect new developments that have taken place in youth justice since it was last reauthorized in 2002. In our last newsletter, we provided summaries of the bill’s many new provisions. The Act4JJ Coalition, of which NJJN is a part, is now coordinating fact sheets detailing the main changes to the bill. See these fact sheets on funding and on State Advisory Groups (SAGs); more will be forthcoming in later weeks.

NJJN will also be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, February 19th at 2 pm ET to discuss the new bill provisions with panelists Naomi Smoot, Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and Rachel Marshall, Federal Policy Director at the Campaign for Youth Justice. Register here to reserve your spot.

Federal School Safety Commission Report

On December 18, 2018, the Federal Commission on School Safety issued a Final Report to the President which included a recommendation to rescind the “Rethinking Discipline” policy guidance jointly promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2014. This guidance was issued based on well-grounded research documenting significant disparities in school discipline which were harming the ability of all children to engage in high-quality education. Additionally, these school disciplinary actions against youth of color have resulted in many of these youth entering the youth justice system in what has become known as the “school-to-prison pipeline”; over 70 percent of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are African-American or Hispanic. In order to express our opposition to this recommendation, the steering committee members of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), which includes NJJN, issued a Statement Regarding the Federal School Safety Commission Report on December 19, 2018, in which we expressed strong opposition to the Commission’s recommendation to rescind the “Rethinking Discipline” policy guidance.

National Sign-on Letters

Youth involved with the justice system often intersect with many other systems serving marginalized populations – such as child welfare, immigration, public health, and housing. To best serve our youth, NJJN signs onto a number of national letters on these issues throughout the year. Please see below for a list of the national letters that NJJN has signed since our last newsletter earlier in the summer and see the federal policy page of our website for a complete list:

1/14/19  Sign-on Letter from the National Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention Coalition opposing the nomination of William Barr as Attorney General of the United States due to his troubling record on a number of civil rights issues, including juvenile justice.

12/18/18 - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights organizational sign-on letter, “Serious Concerns About the Nomination of William Barr to Be Attorney General of the United States,” raising concerns about Barr’s nomination due to his troubling positions on criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equality, immigrant rights, and reproductive freedom.

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