35th Anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)
September 7, 2009, marks the 35th anniversary of the enactment of JJPDA, the nation’s most important law pertaining to the treatment of juvenile offenders and the prevention of delinquency among at-risk youth. This opportune moment for reflection also comes at a time when advocates and policymakers continue to debate principles for reauthorization of this critical law. Key issues in this discussion include:
How findings from the fields of developmental psychology and neuroscience ought to impact the framework for juvenile justice reform;
Strengthening the law’s core protections;
The best means of addressing the considerable mental health and substance abuse needs found among the population of justice-involved and at-risk youth; and
The needs of special populations, including young female offenders, youth with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
At this important milestone and time of opportunity, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) is pleased to share background materials and recommendations for federal policy, as part of its ongoing efforts related to juvenile justice. PI-GRO also wishes to recognize APA’s expert members, whose daily contributions to research and practice in the area of juvenile justice inform and make possible APA’s policy work on this vital issue.