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Federal Legislation

NJJDP Coalition Recommendations to Congress

JJDPA (Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act)

For over 30 years, the JJDPA has protected youth involved in the juvenile justice system by ensuring that States receiving federal juvenile justice money are meeting certain federal protections, called the core requirements. The JJDPA must be reauthorized by Congress soon to expand the core requirements and better protect youth who come into contact with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.


The Youth PROMISE Act was originally introduced in the last Congress as a “smart on crime” positive alternative to “tough on crime” legislation in both chambers of Congress. “Tough on crime” legislation emphasizes punishment and incarceration rather than prevention and early intervention, and will lead to increases in racial and ethnic disparities, increased incarceration, and more severe sanctions such as life without parole in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The Youth PROMISE Act focuses on using preventative and intervention-based methods to assist youth who are at risk of becoming involved (or already are involved) in gangs or the criminal justice systems.