The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act in Jeopardy

Despite bi-partisan support, the JJDPA is in danger of failing reauthorization in Congress. The opposition is almost entirely the work of one Senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, whose stated objection to the bill centers on its elimination of the Valid Court Order (VCO) that allows judges to lock up juveniles for “status offenses,” transgressions like running away from home, disobeying parents, underage tobacco use, or curfew violations, behaviors that would never land an adult in jail.

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