Tuesday, March 24, 2009

National, State, and Local Organizations Applaud Senate Judiciary Chairman and Members on the Introduction of Strong Juvenile Justice Legislation

/PRNewswire / -- Today, the ACT 4 Juvenile Justice campaign (ACT4JJ) -- representing more than 350 national, state and local organizations -- applauds the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senator Patrick Leahy, and his colleagues, Senator Herb Kohl, Senator Arlen Specter, and Senator Dick Durbin for introduction of the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2009 (JJDPA). According to the ACT4JJ campaign, this bill signals a significant step toward JJDPA reauthorization in the 111th Congress and makes many critical changes and improvements to help states and localities employ best practices in delinquency prevention and uphold high standards and safeguards for the care and custody of youth in juvenile justice systems nationwide.

"We are excited to support and generate public understanding of this important legislation and look forward to continuing to work with all members of Congress to enact a strengthened JJDPA into law this year," said Nancy Gannon Hornberger, Co-chair of the ACT4JJ campaign and Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. "The Senate bill, as introduced, builds substantially on more than 30 years of progress under the JJDP Act by strengthening resources, standards, and measures to ensure racial fairness and the federal government partnership with the states. It will greatly benefit children, youth and communities."

"This bill reflects the latest scientific research in the field and the public's strong support for investing in rehabilitation and treatment of youth," said Liz Ryan, Co-chair of the ACT4JJ campaign and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. "We commend Senators Leahy, Kohl, Specter, and Durbin for their leadership and bipartisan vision on juvenile justice and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Senate Judiciary Committee to produce the best possible outcome for our youth and communities."

Established in 1974 and most recently authorized in 2002 with bipartisan support, the JJDPA is based on a broad consensus that children, youth, and families involved with the justice system should be protected by federal standards for care and custody, while also uphold the interests of community safety and prevention of victimization. The JJDPA includes four core requirements: keeping status offenders (e.g. youth who violate curfew or are truant) out of locked facilities, keeping youth out of jails and adult facilities, separating those youth who are temporarily in adult facilities from adult offenders by both sight and sound, and addressing the disproportionately high, negative contact that youth of color have with the justice system.

ACT 4 Juvenile Justice (ACT4JJ) is a campaign of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition composed of hundreds of juvenile justice, child welfare and youth development organizations throughout the country exploring opportunities related to the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

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