Virginia House of Delegates upholds Youngkin’s veto on juvenile justice vote
The Virginia House of Delegates voted Wednesday to uphold Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s veto on HB1197 – a youth justice bill that would have convened a workgroup to study the transfer of the Department of Juvenile Justice to the Secretary of Health & Human Resources.
Valerie Slater, executive director of RISE for Youth, issued the following statement on the House vote:
“Yesterday’s vote to uphold Governor Youngkin’s veto of HB1197 is a major disappointment and an even greater failure of lawmakers to support the best interests of every youth in Virginia. This bill was passed with strong bipartisan support in the legislature because lawmakers understood the lives of Virginia’s children are not political pawns. Yet, the governor’s veto was upheld by his party in a completely partisan vote.
“HB1197 represented a first integral step towards taking a public health approach to the work of the Department of Juvenile Justice. A step away from a system that continues to neglect the root causes of young people’s trauma, that does not set our children up for success, and that does not make our communities safer. This bill was an opportunity to begin studying how to build a system where evidence-based strategies help determine prevention and intervention programs that eliminate the need for over incarceration. Our current approach is not working, and we need a paradigm shift from a system incapable of healing and rehabilitating to break the relentless, harmful cycles of community violence, over policing, and incarceration.
“While HB1197’s veto is devastating, we’re not giving up the fight for Virginia’s youth. We are committed to transforming youth justice and will continue to work with our community to outline what a public health approach to public safety looks like for every community in Virginia.”