Congress is set to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, originally passed in 1974. The law established a set of protections for juvenile offenders; state and local governments that adhere to its guidelines are eligible for federal funding to maintain and improve its juvenile justice facilities. As lawmakers review the bill, they should take into serious consideration research that demonstrates the negative effects the criminal justice system has on offenders and, ultimately, society. An improved act should include provisions that prevent courts from treating minors like adults. Instead, the courts should be urged to find alternative methods that ensure these youth offenders are able to return to society as productive, law-abiding citizens.