The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA)act was passed in 1974, since its initial implementation it has beenreauthorized and modified. In 1974 when Congress passed the JJDPA it was animportant first step in the protection and proper treatment of youth in the juvenilejudicial system. The primary protections enacted with the first revision ofJJDPA were ensuring that status offenders and mistreated youth weren’t placedin secure detention centers and to making sure that juveniles would not be heldwith adults convicted of crimes.
(Merlo, 2016). According to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice the currentimplementation of the JJDPA provides safeguards in four aspects of the juvenilejudicial system. It expands upon the initial JJDPA implementation of thedeinstitutionalization of status offender (DSO) and the Adult jail and lock-upremoval and adds sight and sound separation and the Disproportionate minoritycontact provisions. (Coalitionfor Juvenile Justice, n.
d.)In its original form, the JJDPA served to ensure that youthwho were in the juvenile system were treated fairly and kept out of secureholding. This was positive because itdidn’t “expose youth to the environment, labels and stigmas consistent withthat system” (Merlo, 2016). The JJDPA has been effective in diverting youthaway from a system oriented toward punishment and focus instead on therehabilitation of youth such as truants and runaways who require a morespecific treatment rather than jailing. It was relevant in 1974 and itcontinues to be relevant today. Considering societies view on youth today it isimportant that a system be in place to meet the needs of such offenders.
Theconsistency provided by the federal governments guidelines ensure that therights enjoyed by youth protected under this act is nationwide.There are a few provisions that the act could benefit from,one additional provision to be considered is the protection for children whofall prey to human trafficking, in many cases these children have been takenadvantage of and as such are not willing participants. Another provision thatwould be beneficial is the standardization of age jurisdiction in the juvenilecourt system throughout the US. A fifteen-year-old in North Carolina has thesame needs as a fifteen-year-old in another state.