Justice Reform: Youth Justice Act Focused on Prevention

Justice Reform: Youth Justice Act Focused on Prevention


Though so many believe Congress really doesn’t do much of anything, progress remains all but certain on justice reform over the next year and a half.  One of the few rare bi-partisan issues is criminal justice reform.

With a comprehensive bill set to be offered in a few weeks and progress on police body cameras in the House this week, there is good reason to believe that even more will happen on the issue.  Sen. Tim Scott is soon to drop his language on body cameras as well.

Today Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Karen Bass (D-CA) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) introduced the Youth Justice Act of 2015.  The legislation mirrors what Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is doing with his bill, S.2999, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015.  The bills have not been reauthorized in a a decade.  

“The Youth Justice Act builds on the strong framework of our colleagues in the Senate… on how we can make our system even safer and more responsive to our youth,” said Rep. Scott.  The legislation focus on prevention and forces states to confront entrenched patterns in the juvenile justice system.

Rep. Bass pointed out that girls are the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice population and that half of the states in America spend at least $100,000 a year per youth in jail. 

“We know that supporting programs that keep our children out of jail is one of the best investments we can make,” said Rep. Richmond.

There have been several bills that were considered long shots, yet they became law.  Though the Youth Justice Act has a high bar to jump, only time will tell.  


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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke