Nevada Passes Juvenile Justice System Reform Act

June 19, 2017

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed legislation on June 16 in Carson City that seeks to strengthen public safety and improve outcomes for youth in that state’s justice system.

The Juvenile Justice System Reform Act calls for Nevada to adopt a statewide validated risk and needs assessment tool, requires state funding be used for evidence-based practices, establishes better data collection, and creates a single juvenile justice oversight body to guide and oversee these reforms, among other things.

First Lady Kathleen Sandoval and State Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta, who co-chaired the Statewide Juvenile Justice Improvement Initiative Task Force, joined the governor as he signed the bill. The task force—which included lawmakers, justices, and other stakeholders—led a comprehensive review of the juvenile justice system from which the legislation was created.

“It’s not often that a bill goes through the legislature unanimously and this one did,” Gov. Sandoval said.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) chose Nevada as one of two states that received assistance to undertake a comprehensive review of its juvenile justice system.

Under the guidance of the inter-branch task force, The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, a national nonprofit organization, conducted the analysis of Nevada’s juvenile justice system and helped the task force develop data-driven policy options to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth that were introduced into the legislature in early 2017.

“I want to thank everyone on the task force because they know how important it is to give these kids a voice and they made it happen,” First Lady Sandoval said. “This was probably the easiest part, and now we look forward to all of the hard work ahead.”

At the signing, First Lady Sandoval also thanked the legislature for its support and for shepherding the bill through to passage.

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