Students for Sensible Drug PolicyWhen juveniles are placed in adult prisons, rather than juvenile facilities, they are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted – often within the first 48 hours of their incarceration. When a 16-year-old Texas boy named Rodney Hulin set a dumpster on fire causing about $500 in damage, he was sentenced to eight years in an adult prison.
In prison he was raped repeatedly by adult inmates – until he used a bed sheet to hang himself in his cell.
That was 1996. And it’s still not uncommon for boys and girls in the juvenile justice system to be placed in facilities near adults, subjecting them to both physical and sexual assaults. That’s why Congress needs to strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), a bill that has improved standards for juvenile justice systems around the country, reducing the number of youth who end up in adult prisons.
We started a petition asking Congress to pass the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Click here to sign it.
It’s been more than a decade since the the bill was last reauthorized in 2002. The new re authorization, introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), will require states to do more to prevent minors from being housed with adults. It will make it harder for states to jail children who have committed “status offenses” like skipping school, underage drinking, and running away from home.
And too often when young people end up in the justice system their education is put on hold. The new JJDPA includes provisions that will ensure juveniles can continue their education while incarcerated.
As an organization focused on reducing the harms that the criminal justice system can inflict on young people, Students for Sensible Drug Policy stands with a broad coalition of juvenile justice and youth development organizations who support this bill.
Please click here to sign our petition asking Congress to protect young people in our justice system by passing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.