JUVENILE JUSTICE DELINQUENCY PREVENTION ACT (1974)
The JJDP Act Mandates: Rationale and Summary
Kathleen Kositzky Crank, J.D.
OJJDP Fact Sheet #22 January 1995
Bobby Nestor was sent to Camp Hill Correctional facility, an adult prison, to learn a lesson. Following four and one half months of incarceration, he hung himself after being sexually assaulted by adult inmates.
Bobby Nestor was sent to Camp Hill for incorrigibility. He was not unlike most juven-iles confined with adults at the time. In 1980, only 12 percent of juveniles in confinement with adults were charged with serious offenses against persons. A review of family and social backgrounds of confined juveniles revealed that most had experienced extensive family prob-lems. The most likely candidate for confine-ment was a juvenile like Bobby, who had been in trouble at school, with parents, or with police for minor delinquent or status offenses.
Tragic stories, such as that of Bobby Nestor, combined with compelling statistics on confinement of status offenders, provided the impetus for Congress to enact the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974, as amended, Public Law 93-415, 42 U.S.C. 5601 et seq., requiring the deinstitutionalization of status offenders and separation of juvenile and adult offenders in institutional settings.
Passage of the JJDP Act was aided by the strong consensus of three groups assembled, in part, to examine the juvenile justice system: (1) the Presidents Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice; (2) the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD); and (3) the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. The Presidents Commission was the first to recommend that serious consideration ... should be given to complete elimination of the (juvenile) courts power over children for noncriminal conduct. In 1966, at the request of the Presidents Commission, NCCD survey-ed State and local correctional agencies and institutions across the United States. The survey documented extensive use of detention facilities to confine juveniles accused of noncriminal conduct. In 1974, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals observed that at least 50 percent of detention populations were status offenders who had committed no crime and who were often held under deplorable conditions.
Status offenders were not the only youths affected by ill-suited detention practices. In 1980, Congress found that among the adverse impacts of detaining juveniles in lockups and adult jails were a high suicide rate (the juvenile suicide rate in adult jails and lockups was more than five times that in juvenile detention facilities), physical, mental, and sexual assault, inadequate care and programming, negative labeling, and exposure to serious offenders and mental patients. As a result of a jail or lockup experience, juveniles often learned antisocial behavior from habitual criminals and had to fight for survival in an inmate culture characterized by rigid rules and psychological and physical terror. Congress responded by amending the JJDP Act in 1980 to require the removal of juveniles from adult jails and lockups. In 1988 and 1992, Congress focused attention on the disproportionately high number of minority juveniles arrested and confined in secure detention and correctional facilities. Data demonstrated that incarceration rates for minorities in many States were two to four times that of whites. The 1988 and 1992, reauthorizations of the JJDP Act, 1974, included provisions requiring States to gather additional data, analyze this issue, and provide an appropriate programmatic response where minority over representation was found to exist.
The following summarizes the four system reform mandates of the JJDP Act. For further information regarding State compliance with the JJDP Act mandates, please see OJJDP Fact Sheet #7, Meeting the Mandates.
of Status Offenders
The deinstitutionalization of status offenders (DSO) mandate, Section 223 (a)(12)(A) provides, as a general rule, that no status offender (a juvenile who has committed an act that would not be a crime if committed by an adult) or nonoffender may held in secure detention or confinement.
The Formula Grants Program regulation issued by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), 28 CFR Part 31, creates a temporary-hold exception for accused status offenders and nonoffenders in juvenile detention centers. Status offenders or nonoffenders may be detained for up to 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, for the purposes of identification, investigation, release to parents, or transfer to a nonsecure program or to court.
The 24-hour exception only applies to accused status offenders and nonoffenders. It begins when the juvenile enters a secure custody status in a detention facility. A second 24-hour grace period may follow an initial court appearance.
Another statutory exception, for valid court orders, provides that a status offenders accused of violating such an order may be may be held in a secure juvenile detention longer than 24 hours. In order for a State to invoke this exception, the juvenile must have received all constitutional due-process protections at the initial adjudication and must be afforded a detention hearing within 24 hours. In addition, prior to a dispositional commitment to secure placement, a public agency, other than a court or law enforcement agency, must have reviewed the juveniles behavior and possible alternatives to secure placement, and submitted a written report to the court. Finally, the 1994 Crime Act provides an exception for juveniles who violate the Federal Youth Handgun Safety Act or a similar State law prohibiting juvenile handgun possession.
The separation mandate, Section 223(a)(13), provides that juveniles shall not be detained or confined in a secure institution in which they have contact with incarcerated adults, including inmate trustees. This requires complete separation such that there is no sight or sound contact with adult offenders in the facility. Separation must be provided in all secure areas of the facility, including sallyports, entry/booking areas, hallways, sleeping, dining, recreational, educational, vocational, and health care areas.
Jail and Lock Up Removal
The jail and lockup removal mandate, Section 223(a)(14), establishes as a general rule that all juveniles who may be subject to the original jurisdiction of the juvenile court based on age and offense limitations established by State law cannot be held in jails and law enforcement lockups in which adults may be detained or confined.
The OJJDP Formula Grants Program regulation provides a six-hour exception for accused delinquent offenders, for the limited purposes of identification, processing, interrogation, transfer to a juvenile facility or court, or to detain pending release to parents. The exception does not apply to status offenders, nonoffenders, or adjudicated delinquents. Sight and sound separation from adults during the 6 hours is required.
The statute and regulation provide a rural exception for jails and lockups located outside a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA). Facilities outside an SMSA may hold an accused delinquent for up to 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, while awaiting an initial court appearance, if State law requires such a detention hearing within 24 hours, and provided no existing alternative facility is available. If weather or road conditions do not allow for reasonablely safe travel, the facility may detain the juvenile until conditions allow for safe travel, up to an additional 24-hour period. If conditions of distance or lack of highway, road, or other ground transportation do not allow for a court appearance within 24 hours, a brief (not to exceed 48-hour) delay is authorized. Again separation from adult offenders must be maintained at all times.
A final regulatory exception concerns juveniles under the jurisdiction of a criminal court for a felony offense. It applies only after such jurisdiction has been invoked through the official filing of criminal felony charges in a direct file situation, or after a juvenile has been officially waived to criminal court through a judicial waiver process.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has endorsed jail and lockup removal, and has developed a model policy and training key that addresses law enforcement custody of juveniles.
Nonsecure Custody Criteria
To accommodate the needs of law enforcement, OJJDP policy guidance allows juveniles, including criminal-type offenders, status offenders, and nonoffenders to be held nonsecurely in an adult jail or lockup facility, 53 Fed. Reg.44366 (1988). The OJJDP policy established nonsecure custody criteria to guide law enforcement officers in providing nonsecure custody for juveniles in their custody. These include: holding the juvenile in an unlocked multipurpose area not normally used as a secure area, or if it is a secure area, used only for processing purposes (fingerprinting and photographing); the juvenile is not physically secured to a stationary object; the use of the area is limited to providing nonsecure custody only long enough and for the purposes of identification, processing, release to parents, or arranging transfer to an appropriate juvenile facility or court; the area is not designed or intended to be used for residential purposes; and continuous visual supervision is provided by a law enforcement officer or facility staff during the period of nonsecure custody.
The disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) mandate, Section 223(a)(23) requires States to address efforts to reduce the number of minority youth in secure facilities where the proportion of minority youth in confinement exceeds the proportion such groups represent in the general population. In order to meet the DMC mandate, States go gthrough stages of data gather, analysis and problem identification, assessment, program development, and systems improvement initiatives. For further information, see OJJDP Fact Sheet #11, Disproportionate Minority Confinement.
OJJDP Web sitewww.ncjrs.org/txtfiles/fs-9522.txt
OJJDP Formula Grants Consolidated Regulation (28 CFR Part 31), U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC
Compliance with the JJDP Act is a funding issue and the requirements apply to secure facilities receiving funding from OJJDP. Nonsecure programs are not regulated by the JJDP Act. Questions regarding the formula grants Regulation may be directed to OJJDPs State Relations and assistance division, (202) 307-5924, or the Juvenile Justice Compliance Monitor assigned to each State.