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Topic Descriptions

Administrative and Organizational

Addresses laws that create study groups, coordinating committees, pilot programs or data collection. Includes any law that charges a state entity with responsibilities related to juveniles in the justice system.

Community-based Alternatives

Addresses laws that fund, provide for or support programs that serve youth who remain in their homes and communities, rather than in detention or corrections.

Conditions of Confinement

Addresses laws that relate to juveniles while they are in detention or corrections. Includes laws on solitary confinement, shackling, minimum and maximum age, and other conditions of confinement.

Defense/Due Process and Procedural

Addresses laws that provide legal rights or counsel to young offenders at any point in the system, from arrest to disposition and appeals.

Disposition Options/Sentencing/Length of Stay

Addresses any disposition options for juveniles and laws related to Miller v. Alabama and juvenile life without parole. Also includes laws relating to minimum or maximum terms of commitment to detention or to state custody and determinate sentences.


Addresses any decisions, programs or services or intervention strategies that redirect or divert young people away from formal processing in the juvenile justice system, while still holding them accountable for their actions.

Gang Prevention

Includes any laws related to juvenile gang membership including gang injunctions, gang databases and increased sentencing or penalties for gang activity.

Delinquency Prevention

Addresses laws that provide early interventions and delinquency prevention. Includes appropriations bills for prevention.

Juvenile Sex Offenders

Addresses laws that regulate juvenile sex offenders, including registry requirements and notifications.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Addresses laws concerning mental health and substance abuse treatment for juveniles in the justice system. Includes appropriations and programs coordination and establishment.


Addresses miscellaneous categories, including laws related to young adults ages 18-22, trauma-informed policies, graffiti, gender responsive programming and parental notifications.

Juvenile Probation

Addresses laws related to juvenile probation or community supervision.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Addresses laws that identify and address the over-representation of minorities in the juvenile justice system.

Records and Information

Addresses laws related to the sealing and expungement of juvenile records. Includes laws restricting or expanding access to records and the confidentiality of juvenile records. 

Reentry and Aftercare

Addresses laws that provide services that assist youth transitioning from detention or a correctional facility back into the community. Includes policies on cross-agency coordination, reintegration to schools, educational and vocational services, job readiness and aftercare release conditions and release revocation hearings.

Restorative Justice

Addresses laws that incorporate restorative justice practices in the juvenile justice system, including laws that give victims the opportunity to be heard, ask questions and seek restoration. The restorative justice model also allows those responsible for crimes to apologize and make amends; and involve family members and the community in discussions around accountability, reparations and rehabilitation.


Addresses the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, including under what circumstances judges or prosecutors can send juvenile cases to adult criminal court. Includes laws that mandate youth charged with certain offenses to automatically be tried in adult court and procedures for reverse waiver.

Truancy and Schools

Addresses laws related to truancy and other status offenses. Also includes laws related to education in detention, juvenile reentry into the school system, transition plans, school resource officers and school discipline as it relates to criminal activity.


Addresses laws related to victims of juvenile delinquency including victims’ rights and restitution.

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