ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 15, 2016)—Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act, which would reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and strengthen the nation’s juvenile justice system. The JJDPA was originally signed into law in 1974 and has been due for reauthorization since 2007.
“Reauthorization of the JJDPA is long overdue. Improvements need to be made to the law to prevent children and youth from entering the juvenile justice system and to better protect those currently in the system,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. “National PTA applauds the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and the leadership of Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) for passing the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act.We commend their bipartisan commitment to ensuring greater support, opportunities and alternatives to incarceration for our nation’s youth.”
The Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act would improve current law by:
- Incorporating family and community-based services and alternatives to incarceration
- Keeping detained youth separate from adults while they are awaiting trial
- Phasing out exemptions that allow youth detainment for minor offenses
- Ensuring the continuity of children’s education while detained and a smooth transition back into the classroom after
- Encouraging states to use data and implement strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities among youth in the juvenile justice system
“Since 1899, National PTA has advocated for policies that prevent juvenile delinquency, protect children and youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, and provide youth in the system with services to help them become productive members of society,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA is encouraged by the action today in the House, as well as that of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which passed a similar bill in July 2015. It is critical that Congress sign a strong JJDPA reauthorization bill into law this year that enhances protections for youth and helps every child reach his or her full potential.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA