(HARRISBURG) – The Senate Appropriations Committee has overwhelmingly approved a package of juvenile justice reform bills, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker (R-20).
Senator Lisa Baker explained that the legislation was introduced as a result of the report released last year by the Juvenile Justice Task Force (JJTF). The JJTF concluded an in depth examination of our juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania and put forth 35 recommendations for change.
“With a total of 30 members on the JJTF, the voices and perspectives of juveniles, probation officers, district attorneys, public defenders and victim and juvenile advocates were all shared,” Senator Lisa Baker said. “Substantial and impactful changes to long-held policies requires comprehensive examination and focus. It is critical that we find the appropriate balance to implement fair reforms that institute greater respect, hold juveniles accountable for their actions, and encourage positive growth.”
The four bills advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee include:
- Senate Bill 1226 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 23, by creating a standardized statewide expungement process.
- Senate Bill 1227 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 2, by amending the Human Services Code to include both juvenile justice and child welfare funding goals.
- Senate Bill 1228 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 16, by keeping youth in out-of-home placement no longer than the timeframe supported by research.
- Senate Bill 1229 – Addresses JJTF Recommendation 5, by amending the Human Services Code to provide funding for indigent juvenile defense services.
Senator Lisa Baker noted that work on these bills has been a collective effort along with Senator Jay Costa and Senator Steve Santarsiero.
“I am pleased that these bi-partisan reforms have been advanced by the Appropriations Committee, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for these, and other JJTF recommendations in the future.”
Senate Bills 1226, 1227, 1228 and 1229 now advance to the full Senate for consideration.
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