Most Juvenile Justice Reforms Happened at State Level This Election

By | November 9, 2018

Stoneleigh Senior Program Officer Marie Williams detailed on JJIE the political, policy, and leadership shifts that happened in states across the U.S. during the midterm elections.

Tuesday evening’s midterm elections were among the most closely watched in recent memory, in large part because of its potential implications at the national level. And there was certainly plenty of news there, but perhaps the bigger, untold story is what happened in the states. Some of the results may indicate a more progressive and comprehensive approach to justice and related issues.

At the federal level, the House of Representatives flipped from red to blue, with Democrats picking up 28 seats at last count, including some in traditionally Republican strongholds. This means that legislation cannot pass without bipartisan support. In the Senate however, Republicans now have a safe majority that will enable them to confirm the president’s judicial, Cabinet and other nominees unfettered.

Given the recent moves by the Department of Justice, including de-emphasizing reduction of disproportionate minority contact, the dismantling of the research function at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the promotion of policies with a punitive philosophy, it seems clear that the feds will not lead on those reform issues that are gaining traction in the states.

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