LaWanda Toney, Director, Strategic Communications
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Dec. 21)—Today, the President signed the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018, which will 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 had been due for reauthorization since 2007.
“This bill includes provisions that will continue and strengthen protections for children and youth currently in the juvenile justice system, and promote alternatives to incarceration for youths charged with crimes,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “National PTA applauds Congress’ bipartisan effort to ensure families and communities are involved in safeguarding all of our nation’s youth.”
The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 will improve current law by:
- Supporting a continuum of evidence-based programs designed to meet the needs of at-risk youth who are involved with the justice system, including engaging family members, where appropriate, in the design and delivery of juvenile delinquency prevention.
- Continuing the separation of detained youth and adults awaiting trial.
- Continuing to ensure that detained children receive education and have a smooth transition back into the classroom after release
- Encouraging states to use data and implement strategies to reduce racial and ethnic disparities among youth in the juvenile justice system
While our association is pleased with this reauthorization, we are disappointed that a key priority for National PTA to phase out exemptions that allow youth detainment for minor offenses such as skipping school was not included.
“Since 1899, National PTA has advocated for policies that prevent juvenile delinquency and provide youth in the system with services and opportunities to help them become productive members of society,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “National PTA commends the bipartisan commitment to ensuring greater protections and opportunities for youth both inside and once outside the system.”
Our association looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress as this law is implemented and in the continuous improvement of the juvenile justice system, so every child can reach their potential.
About 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.