The legal requirement for sight and sound separation between juveniles and adult inmates states that “juveniles alleged to be or found to be delinquent or juveniles within the purview of paragraph (11) will not be detained or confined in any institution in which they have sight or sound contact with adult inmates.” 34 U.S.C.A. §11133(a)(12)(A). It may be somewhat intuitive to understand how this requirement applies in settings where adults are detained for long periods of time—such as jails and lockups. The application of this requirement in court holding facilities may be less intuitive. This post explains how sight and sound separation applies in the context of the courthouse.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA) is the central federal law that establishes core requirements for state juvenile justice systems. 34 USC §111. In return for compliance with these core requirements, the statute authorizes federal funding for states to use in their juvenile justice systems. The JJDPA expired in 2007 and was recently reauthorized in the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018. Public Law No 115-385. The reauthorized statute made several significant amendments to the JJDPA. In this blog post I will discuss three of the highlights: a new focus on evidence-based and promising programs and practices, changes in the disproportionate minority contact core requirement, and new requirements regarding identification and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.