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Juvenile Justice Bill Clears Senate Committee

On July 23, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved, by voice vote, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (S. 1169).

As amended, the measure, sponsored by Chair Charles Grassley (R-IA), would reauthorize programs enacted under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (P.L. 93-415) through FY2020. Specifically, the bill would authorize a total of $827.442 million between FY2016-2020 for federal and state programs to address the needs of youth who enter the criminal justice system.

Among several other provisions, the legislation would expand requirements for state plans to address the needs of girls in or at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Such girls would include mothers, survivors of commercial sex exploitation or domestic sex trafficking, girls with disabilities, and girls of color, including those who are members of an Indian tribe. The measure also would phase out the use of restraints, including the shackling of pregnant girls housed in detention or correction facilities.

States also would be required to include in their plans community-based alternatives to detention, enhanced mental health and substance abuse screening, and a description of reentry programs. Requirements to separate youth from contact with adults who also are incarcerated would be enhanced.

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