(This article provides further information on the legislative process surrounding the Juvenile Crime Control Act, alert for which appears above.)

On 9/15, Rep. Bill McCollum, with five other House Republicans, attached a controversial trailer (Juvenile Crime Control Act of 1997) onto a bill introduced by Senator Orrin G. Hatch last spring (S. 2072).† This bill was intended to authorize appropriations for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The trailer, H.R. 3, would give federal prosecutors the power to remove cases involving juvenile offenders from the state court system and try them in adult federal criminal court.† If this bill passes, children as young as 13 will be placed in adult federal criminal prisons and jails with adult criminals, both before trial and after conviction.

H.R. 3 is the House version of the Senate Bill S. 10, which has been under much scrutiny in the Senate because of its controversial features.† The Senate has not engaged in a significant floor debate and has not come to any majority decision on S. 10.† However, it has now bypassed Senate debate and has been handed over to its supporters in the House/Senate Conference Committee for their stamp of approval.

In the minority view, published in the Committee Report on S. 10, Senators Leahy, Kennedy, Biden, Kohl, Feingold and Durbin write "This bill chooses sound bite over sound policy.† It reacts to the headlines about remorseless young criminals committing horrific crimes with a hodgepodge of so-called "get tough" fixes, an amalgam of good and bad ideas on how to spend federal funds, and one-size "Washington-knows-best" approach to juvenile crime that will undoubtedly worsen the juvenile crime problem."

Shannon Gravitte, press secretary for Rep. McCollum, told The Week Online, "In May 1997 H.R. 3 passed the house and is a compromise to the Senate's S. 10."† She went on to say that they are not using roundabout methods to attach H.R. 3 to S. 2073, rather that there is language in S. 2073 that allows for such procedural bypass of debate.† Although H.R. 3 has been amended in the House, it has not been debated or amended by the full Senate, nor will it.

The final bill will not be subject to amendment or debate; rather, the bill, as amended, will come to a "yes" or "no" vote by the full Senate.† Hence, the Senate may enact H.R. 3 without having the chance to ever amend the proposal, causing radical changes in the relationship between the federal government and the states regarding juvenile crime.

Opponents of the bill include Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist and the Children's Defense Fund.

-- END --
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Issue #60, 9/25/98 DRCNet Nearing the 7,000 Mark -- Your Voice Needed | Alert: Congress Considers Jailing Children With Adults | Alert: from the Andean Information Network | On the Web | Canadian Hemp Shop Bust Aided by US Agents | Hemp BC Business License Hearing Scheduled for Next Week | Media Note: CBS Drama to Highlight Medical Marijuana | Volunteers Needed for Washington, DC Medical Marijuana Initiative | New Study Indicates That Cannabis Relieves Pain | Drug War Militarization Bill Passes House Over Objections of Colombia | Background on Juvenile Justice Bill | Massacre in Ensenada, Mexico Hits Close to US | Minnesota Marijuana Law Faces Constitutional Challenge | Human Rights Activists Accuse Russian Police of Planting Drugs | National Conference on Prisons This Weekend | Editorial: Repentance for the Drug War
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