U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Juvenile Justice Journal, Volume II, Number 2 (JJDP Act Issue)

NCJ Number
Juvenile Justice Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Dated: Fall/Winter 1995 Pages: 1-30
Date Published
December 1995
36 pages
Publication Series
Four papers examine the impact of the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDP) on the juvenile justice system, with attention to the act's central mandate to deinstitutionalize status offenders.
The first paper concludes that over the past two decades, the JJDP Act has fundamentally changed the way the Nation deals with troubled youth. State juvenile justice systems that were previously regarded as intransigent, bureaucratic, and punitive now emphasize treatment and rehabilitation through community-based programs and services. The key to this transformation is in the act's central mandate to deinstitutionalize status offenders (DSO). This mandate requires States to remove all status offenders from juvenile detention and correctional facilities. Today, a majority of States comply with the DSO mandate and are committed to its purposes. The second paper details the changes in the JJDP Act approved by Congress over the past two decades and notes the progress that has been achieved under the act. Recommendations are offered for how the act can achieve further progress in the 21st century. Additional insights into the history of the JJDP Act and the building of a unique partnership among Federal, State, and local governments are provided in the third paper. The fourth paper notes that the impact of the JJDP Act goes well beyond its mandates. It argues that the act's greatest contribution has been to establish the foundation for a wide array of improvements in the juvenile justice system that have occurred during the 1980's and 1990's. Among these are the establishment of a clear, accurate database on which to base policy decisions, as well as the initiation of a cooperative planning process. Notes and references accompany each paper.

Date Published: December 1, 1995