The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (the Act) established nationwide standards for juvenile delinquency prevention, offender rehabilitation and juvenile justice system improvements. Every state, including the District of Columbia, must comply with the Act. Every year, the District undergoes a thorough review of juvenile justice practices by a compliance monitor. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council houses the District’s compliance monitor.
To remain in compliance, the District must commit to achieve and maintain compliance with the following four core requirements:
- Deinstitutionalization of status offenders. A status offender (runaway or truant) or non-offender (abused or neglected child) cannot be held, in secure juvenile detention or correctional facilities, nor can they be held in adult facilities for any length of time.
- Separation of juveniles from adult offenders. Alleged and adjudicated delinquents cannot be detained or confined in a secure institution (such as a jail, lockup, or secure correctional facility) in which they have sight or sound contact with adult offenders.
- Adult jail and lockup removal. Juveniles (individuals who may be subject to the original jurisdiction of a juvenile court based on age and offense limitations established by state law) cannot be securely detained or confined in adult jails and lockups.
Disproportionate minority contact. Address juvenile delinquency prevention and system improvement efforts designed to reduce the disproportionate number of juvenile members of minority groups who are contacted and confined by the juvenile justice system.