10.7. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974
Alison S. Burke
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 reformed and redefined the philosophy, authority, and procedures of the juvenile justice system in the United States. This was the first major federal initiative to address juvenile delinquency across the nation.  While historically, the overseeing of juvenile matters fell on the states, the JJDP Act established some oversight at the federal level.
The JJDP Act attached to state funding to reform efforts. For example, one major reform effort involved revising policies around secure detention, separating juvenile from adult offenders, and deinstitutionalizing status offenders. Status offenders were no longer to be held in secure facilities with delinquent youth.  In 1992, as part of the reauthorization of JJDPA, states were encouraged to identify gaps in their ability to provide appropriate services for female juvenile delinquents (42 U.S.C. 5601; OJJDP). The federal government expected states to provide specific services for the prevention and treatment of female delinquency and prohibit gender bias in the placement, treatment, and programming of female delinquents.
Campaign for Youth Justice