Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFeinstein calls for Sessions to appear in front of Senate Judiciary Committee This week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate Week ahead in cyber: Trump Jr., Manafort reach deal to avoid Wednesday hearing MORE (R-Iowa) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Live coverage: Trump's FBI nominee questioned by senators Committees vie to be first to question Trump Jr. MORE (D-R.I.) introduced a bill Thursday that would update national standards covering how the justice system treats minors.

With Grassley preparing to take over as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, the move is an early signal of the committee’s potential criminal justice agenda. Grassley has been particularly supportive of new accountability measures that will be included in the bill to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).

“The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention program helps in preventing at-risk youth from entering the system and helps those in the system become valuable members of communities across the country,” Grassley said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill will be a good starting point for reauthorizing this important program as we begin a new Congress.”

One advocate said Thursday that Grassley’s sponsorship will be a boon for the bill, but that the measure still has a long journey to becoming law.

“I think as head of Judiciary, with his name on it, that is going to be a huge help,” said Marcy Mistrett, the CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice.

The bill, which will not see any movement before the end of the current Congress, aims to beef up juvenile justice standards that haven’t been updated in more than a decade. The juvenile system is estimated to detain 60,000 minors on any given night. 

“This legislation will strengthen the main protections of the JJDPA, and improve the conditions and practices that can determine whether offenders leave our justice system as productive members of society,” Whitehouse said in a statement.

One update would make it harder for states to lock up children who have committed “status offenses” that would not be an offense if they were an adult, like running away from home or skipping school.

Another update would require that states do more to make sure they are not confining minors near adults.

It would also give states new direction on how to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.

“It strengthens the language to keep status offenders out of detention and protect kids by reinforcing youth and adult separation,” Mistrett said.

The act was last reauthorized in 2002. More recent attempts to reauthorize the bill have failed.

The bill comes at a moment when there is bipartisan support for certain reforms to the criminal justice system.

Grassley has had a historical interest in juvenile justice. But it is not known if he will have the committee tackle some of the thorny problems in the adult criminal justice system, which encompasses everything from policing to prison conditions.

The United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world, something a smattering of lawmakers have been moving to change.

Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeSenate healthcare bill appears headed for failure Small farmers push for USDA reforms Trump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana MORE (R-Utah) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinTop Dem: Trump’s voter fraud commission will accomplish what Putin wants Senators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him Graham and Kushner met to discuss immigration differences: report MORE (D-Il.) have introduced a bill that would make small changes to the federal mandatory minimum sentences that have led to black Americans being imprisoned at disproportionate rates. It’s received support from big names both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulJudd Gregg: For Trump, reaching out would pay off This week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate Week ahead: Uncertainty surrounds ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (R-Ky.), Ted CruzTed CruzGOP wrestles with soaring deductibles in healthcare bill Cruz: Tax reform chances ‘drop significantly’ if healthcare fails Ex-CBO directors defend against GOP attacks on ObamaCare analysis MORE (R-Texas) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats roll out 'Better Deal,' new economic agenda Jimmy Carter predicts US will eventually have single-payer healthcare system Dems to unveil ‘better deal’ messaging campaign Monday MORE (D-Mass.).

But Grassley opposes the measure and will decide whether it comes up for a vote on the Judiciary Committee, where it would likely pass.