Last week the U.S. Senate passed the long-awaited Juvenile Justice Reform Act to improve the Juvenile Justice System and provide better support for children at risk of participating in crime. Such improvements will focus on education and rehabilitation, funding initiatives to support at-risk children in their communities, removing young offenders from adult prisons, and ceasing to imprison youth for minor offenses. There is hope that these reforms will prevent survivors of sexual abuse from being re-traumatized in prison environments, which could have significant impact on the lives of youth given that the majority of incarcerated young women are survivors of sexual abuse. Representative Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House on Education and the Workforce, has called the passage of this Act “a major victory for America’s youth…with these reforms, we can meet young people where they are, making enormous progress in prevention and equipping more people to better serve juvenile offenders better and meet the needs of communities. This bill will improve program accountability while promoting evidence-based solutions to give more young adults the tools and skills they need to achieve lifelong success.” Like other Federal laws that authorize grants programs, this legislation contains stringent requirements for grants monitoring.
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