U.S. Rep. Capuano Offers Amendment to Juvenile Justice Bill

June 16, 1999 -- Today, U.S. Representative Michael Capuano offered an amendment to H.R. 1501, the "Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 1999", to provide assistance to protect young witnesses who have come forward with information regarding a crime. The amendment was approved on a voice vote and the legislation itself passed by a margin of 287-139.

Rep. Capuano filed the amendment after hearing the heartbreaking story of young Jason Sadler, the 14-year-old Mission Hill youth forced to leave school and go into hiding after telling police about a robbery he witnessed. Since telling the truth, his life has been threatened by the young robbers and their associates.

Rep. Capuano's amendment allows state and local prosecutors to use federal block grants to develop juvenile witness assistance programs specifically targeted to the individual needs of their communities.

H.R. 1501 provides block grants to states and municipalities so that they may strengthen their juvenile justice systems. The bill authorizes $500 million a year for a period of three years to fund the grants and highlights a host of activities eligible for funding authorization.