Home News Center Federal Juvenile Justice Update | January 2017

Federal Juvenile Justice Update | January 2017

January 17, 2017
Melissa Goemann


115th Congress

The new Congress is now in session. Below is information currently available on leadership positions and committee assignments. 

U.S. Senate 

In the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) will remain as chairman and the new ranking member is Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Below is a list of committee members: 

Members (R):

Members (D):

Grassley, Chuck (IA) , Chairman 
Hatch, Orrin G. (UT) 
Graham, Lindsey (SC) 
Cornyn, John (TX) 
Lee, Mike (UT) 
Cruz, Ted (TX) 
Sasse, Ben (NE) 
Flake, Jeff (AZ) 
Crapo, Mike (ID) 
Tillis, Thom (NC) 
Kennedy, John (LA) 

Feinstein, Dianne (CA), Ranking Member
Leahy, Patrick J. (VT)
Durbin, Richard J. (IL)
Whitehouse, Sheldon (RI)
Klobuchar, Amy (MN)
Franken, Al (MN)
Coons, Christopher A. (DE)
Blumenthal, Richard (CT)
Hirono, Mazie K. (HI)

In the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) will remain as chairman and the new ranking member is Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Below is a list of committee members:

Members (R):

Members (D):

Cochran, Thad (MS) , Chairman 
McConnell, Mitch (KY) 
Shelby, Richard C. (AL) 
Alexander, Lamar (TN) 
Collins, Susan M. (ME) 
Murkowski, Lisa (AK) 
Graham, Lindsey (SC) 
Blunt, Roy (MO) 
Moran, Jerry (KS) 
Hoeven, John (ND) 
Boozman, John (AR) 
Capito, Shelley Moore (WV) 
Lankford, James (OK) 
Daines, Steve (MT) 
Kennedy, John (LA) 
Rubio, Marco (FL) 

Leahy, Patrick J. (VT)
Murray, Patty (WA)
Feinstein, Dianne (CA)
Durbin, Richard J. (IL)
Reed, Jack (RI)
Tester, Jon (MT)
Udall, Tom (NM)
Shaheen, Jeanne (NH)
Merkley, Jeff (OR)
Coons, Christopher A. (DE)
Schatz, Brian (HI)
Baldwin, Tammy (WI)
Murphy, Christopher (CT)
Manchin, Joe (WV)
Van Hollen, Chris (MD)

  • For a listing of the Senate Republican committee assignments for all of the committees click here.
  • The Democratic leader in the Senate is Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Click here for the Democratic Senate leadership team for the 115th, which includes the ranking committee members.
  • For the tentative 2017 legislative calendar for the Senate click here.

U.S. House of Representatives


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The ESSA (Public Law 114-95) was signed into law on Dec. 10, 2015. As part of its implementation, states must identify schools every three years, beginning in 2017-18, that are “in need of improvement” and must draft state plans outlining how they will measure school quality and student success and improvement. The U.S. Department of Education will be establishing multi-disciplinary peer review teams to review the state plans. This is an opportunity, then, to ensure that youth involved in the justice system get a quality education. For information on how to get involved, see this information from the Dignity in Schools Campaign and this listing of State Department of Education contacts.

OJJDP Amends JJDPA Regulations with Partial Final Rule

On January 17, 2017, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) of the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs published a partial final rule to amend portions of the formula grant program authorized by the Juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).

OJJDP made a number of modifications to its proposed rule, based on the many comments it received to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published on Aug. 8, 2016. The modifications appear to make full compliance by the states more attainable.

For example, under the partial final rule, only eight states would be out of compliance, based on FY13 data, rather than the 48 states that would have been out of compliance under the rule as originally proposed. Key changes:

  • State compliance is only required for 85 percent of facilities (rather than 100 percent as in the proposed rule).
  • The term “detain or confine” is clarified -- it does not apply to situations where youth are being held solely pending their return to a parent or guardian, or pending transfer to the custody of a child welfare or social service agency. In addition, it does not apply to situations where youth are held in a non-secure area of a building that also houses an adult jail or lockup. 

OJJDP anticipates publishing a final rule in the future that will address the remaining changes not covered here.   

Photo credit: Flickr user Nick Postorino 

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