The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) may be the long-awaited bicameral win that Congress has been searching for this year
First enacted in 1974, the JJDPA provides four core protections for young people who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The legislation ensures that youth are not housed in adult facilities, that they are sight and sound separated from adult inmates, and that states address racial and ethnic disparities within their systems. The law also prohibits the incarceration of young people for status offenses such as running away from home and skipping school. These status-offense behaviors are illegal only because the person engaging in them has not yet reached the age of majority.