Kayleb Moon-Robinson is a 6th grader in Virginia on the autism spectrum. During what was a difficult day for him, he kicked a trashcan at his middle school. A school resource officer saw him and filed a disorderly conduct charge in juvenile court against the then 11-year-old boy.
Two weeks later, Kayleb was told to wait while other kids left class but disobeyed. When the same officer grabbed Kayleb to bring him to the principal’s office, Kayleb says he tried to push away but the officer “slammed me down and then handcuffed me.” The officer then charged him with felony assault against a police officer and another charge of disorderly conduct.
Unbelievably, this autistic 6th grader is being prosecuted for both disorderly conduct and felony assault on a police officer.
Until 1974 it was common for boys and girls in the juvenile justice system to be placed in cells with adults, subjecting them to both physical and sexual assaults. Children were put in jail for minor acts like truancy or running away from home. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) changed that by setting standards for juvenile justice systems at the state and local levels and making the justice system more fair for young people.
The JJDPA is up for reauthorization and includes signficant improvements to the law that will continue to protect young people in juvenille justice systems throughout the country by providing direct funding for research, training, technical assistance, and evaluation.
This reauthorization will help improve many of the key areas of juvenile justice, such as reducing the placement of youth in adult jails, decreasing racial and ethnic disparities, and promoting alternatives to incarceration.
Please sign our petition asking Congress to pass the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.