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Valid Court Order Exception: Yes or No?

NCJ Number
G Crippen
Date Published
18 pages
This study examines issues related to the "Valid Court Order Amendment" of the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA) which permits secure detention for juvenile status offenders when they violate a valid court order.
Under the original JJDPA, State juvenile justice plans had to provide that juveniles "who have committed offenses that would not be criminal if committed by an adult" cannot be placed in secure detention facilities. In 1980 Congress approved an amendment whereby secure detention could be permitted for "offenses" that constitute "violations of valid court orders." In 1984 Congress included in the JJDPA a definition of "valid court order." The term covers any order of a juvenile court judge "to a juvenile who has been brought before the court and made subject to a court order." This document cautions against ever placing in secure detention juveniles who have not violated a criminal law, since such action is in direct conflict with the stated objectives of the juvenile justice system. Custody is more likely to harm than to help juveniles. Further, any proceeding that can have the end result of detaining a status offenders should be subject to due process requirements. The detention of juveniles for a violation of a court order should be reconsidered, since the sanction is likely to contribute to the juvenile's future criminal behavior. 15 notes