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On September 30, President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing October 2016 as National Youth Justice Awareness Month. The number of juvenile arrests have fallen over the past decade, and the majority have been for nonviolent crimes. Young people of color, particularly Black and Hispanic males and Native American youth, continue to be overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. This month-long observance is dedicated to preventing youth from entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems and encourages communities to participate in activities and programs that help youth fulfill their greatest potential. In his proclamation, the President urged Congress to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to protect youth and limit the number of youth held in adult jails and prisons. The President cited OJJDP’s Smart on Juvenile Justice initiative to provide job training, substance use disorder treatment, and counseling in juvenile facilities and expand community-based alternatives to youth. The proclamation also supports eliminating the use of solitary confinement, screening youth for exposure to trauma, and addressing opportunity gaps for youth through the President’s My Brother's Keeper initiative.
Visit OJJDP’s National Youth Justice Awareness Month webpage.