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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: July 19, 2023 04:08 PM
From: Representative Melissa L. Shusterman
To: All House members
Subject: Expanding oversight and accountability of juvenile justice facilities
As legislators, we are responsible for ensuring the support, development, and safety of young people who are placed in the custody of the Commonwealth. Allegations of abuse in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice facilities require us to act. Young people report that these facilities are unsafe, unclean, and unable or unwilling to provide effective treatment or education, and that grievance procedures are not always clear or fair.

We must ensure the safety and accountability of juvenile justice placements whether they are run by private providers or the Department of Human Services (DHS). This bill expands oversight and accountability of residential facilities operated or licensed by DHS. Key components include:
  • Increasing regular oversight of facilities by DHS.
  • Monitoring data on the number of youths who are denied admission or removed from an out-of-home placement.
  • Eliminating the use of shackling, solitary confinement, and other punitive measures for youth in facilities except in extreme circumstances.
  • Strengthening youth and families’ rights to file grievances; and
  • Prohibiting placement out of state, except in neighboring states.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1600