the nation's training and reform schools and the high numbers of juveniles being held in adult facilities, Congress passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (42 U.S.C. §§5601-5640), creating a federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the Department of Justice. The Act provided federal leadership in the reform of the treatment of status offenses and nonoffenders. It required states that received federal formula grants to remove noncriminal status offenders and nonoffenders (e.g., abused and neglected children) from secure detention and correctional facilities. The provisions for the deinstitutionalization of status offenders led to a decrease in the numbers of status offenders held in detention facilities and institutions by the early 1980s (Krisberg and Schwartz, 1983; National Research Council, 1982; Schneider, 1984a). Schneider (1984b), however, found that some children and adolescents who, prior to the move to deinstitutionalize status offenders, would have been charged with a status offense, were subsequently being charged with minor delinquent offenses (e.g., theft rather than running away). Therefore, Schneider asserted, they were still coming to the court at the same rate, but as delinquents rather than status cases. Amendments to the 1974 act in 1980 weakened the deinstitutionalization mandate somewhat by allowing detention and incarceration of noncriminal juveniles for violating a valid court order. Status offenders who did not comply with treatment ordered by the court could become criminal delinquents by virtue of being charged with criminal contempt of court.
Young people who might formerly have been processed through the juvenile justice system for status offenses may now be institutionalized in other facilities, such as private mental health and drug and alcohol treatment facilities. Very little is known about the number of youngsters confined to such institutions, the length of their institutionalization, or the conditions of their confinement.
Concern over housing juveniles with adult criminals led to other requirements under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Sight and sound separation of juveniles and adults in detention and correctional facilities and removal of juveniles from adult jails and lockups were mandated. In 1988, the act was amended to require states to address disproportionate confinement of minority juveniles.
At the same time the federal agenda and the voices of reformers were calling for deinstitutionalization procedures and more prevention, the states seemed to be moving in the opposite direction (Schwartz, 1989). Between 1978 and 1981, lawmakers in nearly half the states enacted some form of tougher legislation with regard to handling serious and chronic juvenile offenders. In a handful of states, provisions included making it easier to prosecute juveniles in adult court by lowering the age of judicial waiver (three states); excluding certain offenses from juvenile court juris-