Zabel, bipartisan Juvenile Justice Task Force announces findings

HARRISBURG, June 22 – Continuing his efforts to improve the justice system, state Rep. Mike Zabel, D-Delaware, today announced the findings from the bipartisan Juvenile Justice Task Force with his colleagues as part of his work as a co-chair on the interbranch organization.

“Since Day One, my goal as a co-chair has been to find policy recommendations that would improve the lives and outcomes for victims and offenders in our juvenile justice system,” Zabel said. “I was presented with a significant opportunity and an extraordinary responsibility to work with stakeholders throughout the process to deliver bipartisan recommendations.”

Gov. Tom Wolf announced the members of the task force after launching the task force in December 2019. Zabel joined Rep. Tara Toohill, R-Luzerne, Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne/Wyoming/Susquehanna/Wayne/Pike, and Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, in working as co-chairs on the task force.

The task force was formed in the wake of the state shutting down the Glen Mills Schools, a Delaware County nonprofit juvenile justice facility, following an investigation into child abuse and cover-ups. Before the removal of its students, it was the oldest existing reform school in the nation. 

The complete report and recommendations can be found here, and the task force’s executive summary can be found here.

“I’m proud of the work we have accomplished during the last 18 months and remain hopeful this report will alter and improve the juvenile justice system and Pennsylvania’s current practices,” Zabel said. “Whenever vulnerable lives are involved in the justice system, it’s incumbent on all parties to offer the protection, treatment and help needed to recover.”

Prior to his election to the state House in 2018, Zabel worked as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia and as a teacher.  

“This report is a culmination of work the people of Pennsylvania would want to be done: data driven and firmly committed to improving what needs to be improved on and enhancing that which already works well,” Zabel said.