Lewis introduces bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reform Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jason Lewis (MN-02) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017:
“All our kids deserve the opportunity to be successful and have a 2nd chance. My bill is about getting young people back on track and working to reform criminal justice- especially for those kids who are most at-risk.
“It’s a privilege to stand with parents, educators, and police officers to advocate for a system that helps young people grow into productive members of society. I'm proud to work with Ranking Member Scott on this important issue and bring solutions that will make our country a better, safer place.”
Background: The Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA) is a major, bipartisan bill with broad support in the House and the Senate. Lewis, who has advocated criminal justice reform for years, is leading the JJRA efforts in the House alongside Chairwoman Foxx and Ranking Member Scott.
A wide coalition of groups from the Council for a Strong America to the National Parent Teacher Association support juvenile justice reform. Lewis believes delinquent youth need a rehabilitative and positive interaction with the justice system to get back on the right track, including prioritizing what works by focusing on evidence based strategies and limiting detention of ‘status’ offenders; minors who skip school, run away from home, etc.
The JJRA specifically protects at-risk groups, including girls who have survived human trafficking and pregnant juveniles. The bill gives flexibility to states and local communities to best meet the needs of delinquent youth and improve public safety, including requiring judges to consider whether it’s ‘in the interest of justice’ for a juvenile awaiting an adult trial to be held in an adult detention facility. Through the JJRA, Lewis will work to improve accountability and oversight to deliver positive outcomes for our communities and protect taxpayers