Tell Congress to Make History During National Week of Action for Against Incarcerating Youth

May 17, 2016

This week is the National Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth– a week where organizations, community groups, schools, small businesses and others are encouraged to raise awareness about what’s known as the school-to-prison pipeline and what we can all to help end the incarceration of all youth.

Communities across the country will be holding events and spreading the word. Congress should take this opportunity to do its part to help reduce the number of system-involved young people by reauthorizing and funding the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).

Calling key sections of the JJDPA, “the backbone of programs assisting state and local agencies to prevent juvenile delinquency and ensure that youth who are in contact with the juvenile justice system are treated fairly”, last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a funding increase for the law. 

On Wednesday, May 18th, appropriators in the House of Representatives will meet to work on the House proposal and we encourage them to follow the lead of their Senate colleagues and ensure the law is adequately funded. 

Congress should also take the next steps to reauthorize the law. S. 1169, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act, is pending in the U.S. Senate with 19 bipartisan cosponsors and near unanimous support.  Senate leadership should act swiftly to move the bill forward and on to the House, so that the law can be renewed this year. 

This is what Americans want. Earlier this year, the Youth First Initiative released a new national public opinion poll showing that overall Americans want less lock up for youth, overwhelmingly favoring prevention and rehabilitation of youth instead. 

The poll found broad agreement across the country and across the political spectrum. It underscored the underlying core values that Americans believe when it comes to youth in conflict with the law. Americans believe youth in conflict with the law have the power to change for the better and that they are capable of positive growth.

Here's how to get involved: 

Take Action Now! Tell Congress to invest in youth justice and community safety. 

Sample Posts: Let others know why funding for juvenile justice programs is so important.

  • TODAY! House threatens to defund juvenile justice programs again: #JJDPAMatters

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to invest in critical JJ funding for youth justice & community safety. #JJDPAMatters

  • Keep our kids and communities safe. Tell Congress to ensure adequate funding for juvenile justice. #JJDPAMatters  

  • Without federal funding our children and communities suffer. Stop the cuts to juvenile justice funding. #JJDPAMatters

Learn More

Jill Ward, federal policy consultant for the Campaign for Youth Justice 

Jill Ward