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Current Juvenile Justice Issues Facing State Legislatures

NCJ Number
Date Published
9 pages
This report details the survey responses of State legislatures in identifying current juvenile justice issues of importance to them.
In responding to a recent survey by the National Conference of State Legislatures, State legislative research staff from 39 States identified the development and implementation of effective placement options for different youth as the most critical juvenile justice question facing State legislators. Other issues facing State legislatures are community-based care, alternative rehabilitation strategies, overcrowded facilities, and the need for secure institutions. These juvenile justice concerns are not new. However, State response to the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act has caused many States to work through previous priority issues such as the deinstitutionalization of status offenders and the separation or removal of juveniles from adult jails. As a result, only a few States now see these issues as major policy issues confronting them. Instead, many States anticipate legislative initiatives related to alternative rehabilitation strategies and community-based care. In response to overcrowded juvenile facilities, many States are planning to build or renovate to ensure sufficient space and security. Additionally, State legislatures are reviewing and revising juvenile codes and developing administrative procedures to improve the operation of juvenile facilities. Several States are exploring legislation to meet the needs of special youth populations. 10 footnotes.