WASHINGTON (Dec. 13) – The R Street Institute welcomes the bipartisan passage of H.R. 6964, a bill that reauthorizes and improves the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). It marks the first time that the Act has been reauthorized in nearly 16 years.

This reauthorization bill includes provisions aimed at protecting young people. Importantly, the bill stipulates that youth awaiting trial in adult court may not be housed in adult facilities. This critical provision will help guarantee that vulnerable youth who are held in the adult system are protected from physical abuse and solitary confinement, and will ensure that they receive age-appropriate services.

The JJDPA will also address racial inequity within the juvenile system by requiring states to develop programs that address the high rates at which youth of color are arrested and detained. In addition, the JJDPA will require that any educational credits earned while in detention transfer back to the student’s community school.

Jesse Kelley, policy analyst and government affairs specialist for criminal justice at the R Street Institute, added, “allowing youth in the juvenile system to access quality educational programming will provide them with greater access to crucial schooling requirements. This will lead to better opportunities upon release and increased chances for them to grow into responsible, productive adults.”