Thursday, September 3, 2009

Implementation Challenges of Juvenile Justice Legislation

By request of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) surveyed juvenile justice professionals to evaluate the implementation barriers of the Adam Walsh Act as its reauthorization approached. Data collection focused on the financial, legal, and tribal impacts of the legislation, as well as its perceived benefits and problems, the likelihood of jurisdictional compliance, and professionals' opinions about reauthorization. The survey findings indicate serious concerns about the requirements of the legislation, its implementation challenges, and its overall effectiveness. For example,

The vast majority of respondents (84%) seemed to indicate that the Adam Walsh
Act’s mandatory minimum requirements are disproportionately harsh and that
normal adolescent behavior between consenting persons could be criminalized
under the provisions of The Act. Slightly less than this, but still more than
three quarters of respondents (79%) also said that juvenile names and addresses
should not be posted on the Internet as part of The Act’s mandatory reporting
requirements. More than two‐thirds (68%) of those answering the question said
The Act’s Registry will have no impact on preventing future adult sex offenses
and more than half (53%) did not feel The Act would make their communities

Policies to reduce juvenile detention.

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