Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, and Prosecutors Applaud U.S. Senate's Action on Juvenile Justice Reform
The new Senate bill puts Congress one step closer to final passage
Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, and Prosecutors Applaud the Senate’s Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
Long-overdue renewal reflects new research and will save taxpayer dollars
(Washington, D.C.–) The 5,000 law enforcement leaders of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids applauded the U.S. Senate for passing last night S. 860 to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), which strengthens the existing law to reflect new research and fund programs that can prevent juvenile offenders from becoming adult criminals.
The bill encourages states to use interventions that have a proven impact on reducing recidivism as an alternative to custody. This update reflects research that shows placing low-to-moderate offenders in custody is often counterproductive for youth and detrimental to public safety. One landmark study found that for 91 percent of juveniles facing custody, diversion to local, effective youth programs reduced the rate of re-offending more than placement in juvenile facilities.
This new legislation ultimately will result in fewer young people on the path to adult crime and prison. That’s a winning situation for everyone involved.
Attorney John C. Werden, Carroll County, IA
“It’s critical we ensure that our communities have the necessary tools to help troubled youth get the coaching and assistance they need to be productive members of society,” said Carroll County, IA Attorney John C. Werden. “This new legislation ultimately will result in fewer young people on the path to adult crime and prison. That’s a winning situation for everyone involved– and we couldn’t have done it without the leadership of Iowa’s own Senator Chuck Grassley leading the charge.”
Instead, community-based effective approaches funded by the bill can reduce recidivism rates by coaching youth and their families and address the root causes of many criminal behaviors. Because they cut recidivism, the interventions can also save the public between $6,000 and $26,000 per youth served, a stark contrast to the $88,000 average cost of one year for one youth in juvenile custody.
“If we can impact re-offenders through innovative alternatives and keep them out of prison, that’s a net positive for youth, families and community,” said Middletown, RI Chief of Police Anthony Pesare. “We are lucky to have someone like Senator Whitehouse moving this data driven approach forward in the new Congress.”
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids thanks Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) for their work as lead sponsors of the legislation. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation earlier this year, led by Rep. Lewis (R-MN) and Rep. Scott (D-VA). The two bills must now be merged in a conference committee and passed by both chambers of Congress. We urge Congress to move forward to final passage without delay.
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