Breaking the cycle of juvenile crime.The legal community can help implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce juvenile delinquency juvenile delinquency, legal term for behavior of children and adolescents that in adults would be judged criminal under law. In the United States, definitions and age limits of juveniles vary, the maximum age being set at 14 years in some states and as high as 21 .
Just as the Chinese symbol for crisis represents both danger and opportunity, so too does the problem of youth violence. Levels of juvenile crime and violence dramatically increased in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. between 1985 and 1993. Since 1993, these levels have declined. Still, the rates of juvenile offending and victimization victimization Social medicine The abuse of the disenfranchised–eg, those underage, elderly, ♀, mentally retarded, illegal aliens, or other, by coercing them into illegal activities–eg, drug trade, pornography, prostitution. are of crisis proportion. The crisis encompasses not only young people and public safety but also the failure and neglect of families, schools, communities, and social systems for which adults are responsible.
After decades of research on the causes and correlates of juvenile delinquency, we now have the means to address this problem. Tested and proven programs and strategies are available to successfully attack the multiple risk factors for delinquency. The trick now is to engage trained professionals, forge public will, and garner the leadership and resources to fully implement these programs.
Moving from individual program accomplishments such as mentoring, home visits by nurses, and early intervention ear·ly intervention
n. Abbr. EI
A process of assessment and therapy provided to children, especially those younger than age 6, to facilitate normal cognitive and emotional development and to prevent developmental disability or delay. programs to broad-based system reform will ensure the long-term health and safety of our communities.
The problem of youth violence in this country is serious, but it should be kept in perspective. Pundits talk about a generation of juvenile superpredators, but this characterization is not true. Consider the following facts.
* In 1996, less than one-half of 1 percent of juveniles age 10 to 17 were arrested for a violent crime in the United States Crime in the United States is characterized by relatively high levels of gun violence and homicide, compared to other developed countries although this is explained by the fact that criminals in America are more likely to use firearms. .(1)
* A core group of about 6 to 8 percent of juvenile offenders is responsible for most serious and violent juvenile crime in our communities.(2) Violent crime includes murder, negligent manslaughter, kidnaping, violent sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he or she attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or causes such injury purposely, knowingly, or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or attempts to cause or purposely or . Serious crime includes burglary, serious larceny larceny, in law, the unlawful taking and carrying away of the property of another, with intent to deprive the owner of its use or to appropriate it to the use of the perpetrator or of someone else. , motor vehicle theft Motor vehicle theft or grand theft auto is a criminal act of theft generally understood to refer to the stealing of automobiles, buses, motorcycles, snowmobiles, trucks, trailers or any other motorized vehicle legally allowed on public roads and highways, including attempted , arson, weapons offenses, and drug trafficking.
* Juvenile gang involvement lasts an average of one year, not a lifetime.(3)
* In the last three years, juvenile arrests for murder have dropped 31 percent, and arrests for weapons law violations have dropped 21 percent.(4)
While the number of juvenile offenses remains too high, most juveniles are good citizens, and many are struggling to do well in situations that would test even the most resilient adults. For instance, more than 2 million cases of child abuse and neglect are reported each year.(5)
Solutions to youth crime
Many factors in the communities, families, schools, peer groups, or personal characteristics of today's youth may have contributed to the decrease in juvenile crime. Research from the fields of public health, criminology criminology, the study of crime, society's response to it, and its prevention, including examination of the environmental, hereditary, or psychological causes of crime, modes of criminal investigation and conviction, and the efficacy of punishment or correction (see , sociology, and psychology has demonstrated that reducing risk factors for delinquency and introducing protective factors are effective antidotes to youth crime.
Key risk factors include being a victim of abuse and neglect, tailing in school, associating with delinquent peers, and living in communities where there is easy access to guns and drugs. Protective factors include having caring and responsible adult role models, academic support, and access to positive activities, such as after-school programs that provide opportunities for personal development, recreation, and cultural enrichment.
When children grow up in functional families with positive peers and influences and in communities that are free of guns, gangs, and drugs, they are significantly less likely to become delinquent.(6)
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (or OJJDP) is an office of the United States Department of Justice and a component of the Office of Justice Programs. (OJJDP OJJDP Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (federal agency) ), established in 1974 by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 is a United States federal law providing funds to states that follow a series of guidelines regarding the rights of juvenile offenders. The purpose of the legislation is to reduce labeling, as advocated by labeling theory. ,(7) funds the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency. Over the last 10 years, this research has examined thousands of youths in three locations to develop and test causal models for chronic violent offending. The program has also examined the interrelationships among teenage fatherhood, early sexual activity, victimization, gang involvement, drug selling, and gun ownership and use.
In Rochester, New York This article is about the city of Rochester in Monroe County. For the town in Ulster County, see Rochester, Ulster County, New York.
Rochester, once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City or , for example, research demonstrated that the offense rate of high-risk middle school students dropped by over 50 percent when youths had an average of nine or more protective factors in their lives instead of six or fewer.(8)
An OJJDP-sponsored study by 22 top U.S. researchers found that the first signs of problem behavior often occur as early as age 7, while the first serious or violent offense generally is not recorded until about age 14.(9) Accordingly, when juveniles exhibit precursor behaviors such as truancy, bullying, and minor delinquent offenses, there are seven years of opportunity to prevent future serious and violent offending--and there is substantial knowledge to guide us in taking action.
Programs and strategies employed at each developmental stage of a child's life can reduce the likelihood of delinquency. Through effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, we can interrupt a youth's path toward destructive behavior.
For example, a parent-training and home-visitation program in Elmira, New York Elmira is a city in Chemung County, New York, USA. It is the principal city of the 'Elmira, New York Metropolitan Statistical Area' which encompasses Chemung County, New York. The population was 30,940 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Chemung County. , showed positive results in the early prevention of both child abuse and delinquency. Using qualified nurses, the program offered intensive training, guidance, and counseling to pregnant women and new mothers.
Over 15 years, there were 80 percent fewer instances of child abuse by the participating mothers. Moreover, the 15-year-old children of the participating mothers had half as many arrests as those born to mothers not in the program.(10)
Similarly, research in Charleston, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. , engaged delinquent youths in multisystemic mul·ti·sys·tem·ic
Relating to a disease or condition that affects many organ systems of the body.
affecting more than one body system. therapy, an integrated, family-based treatment for adolescents who demonstrate serious antisocial antisocial /an·ti·so·cial/ (-so´sh'l)
1. denoting behavior that violates the rights of others, societal mores, or the law.
2. denoting the specific personality traits seen in antisocial personality disorder. behavior. The program addressed problems in the youths' families, communities, and schools and with their peers. Even four years after completing the program, the youths' re-arrest rates were half that of comparable youths receiving traditional services.(11)
Strategy and action plan
Improving the development of our children requires finding out which efforts are likely to pay off and why, and then investing wisely in those strategies. The juvenile justice system--from the dependency and delinquency courts to social service systems, correctional facilities, probation, and aftercare af·ter·care
Follow-up care provided after a medical procedure or treatment program.
the care and treatment of a convalescent patient, especially one that has undergone surgery. (post-release supervision and treatment services)--must implement a comprehensive, research-based strategy.
A concerted effort on the part of federal, state, and local governments, in partnership with private organizations and community agencies, will ensure that available resources are best used; decrease juvenile crime, violence, and victimization; and increase community safety.
At the federal level, the OJJDP is the agency responsible for providing a coordinated approach to preventing and controlling juvenile crime and improving the juvenile justice system. The agency administers a budget of over $500 million, which is used to support research on juvenile crime; provide funding to state and local governments; offer training and technical assistance; and disseminate information to practitioners, the general public, and policy makers.
The OJJDP aims to identify and promote programs that prevent or reduce juvenile offending, both criminal and noncriminal; to intervene when delinquent or status offending first occurs; and to reduce future offending by improving the justice system's response.
OJJDP programs and strategies are designed to
* strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment child maltreatment '…intentional harm or threat of harm to a child by someone acting in the role of a caretaker, for even a short time…Categories Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect…', the last being most common. (for example, by providing nurse home visitation and community-and school-based parenting education);
* improve the responsiveness of child protective services child protective services Sociology A state or county agency that addresses issues of child abuse and neglect , the dependency court, and the foster care system (for example, by using court-appointed special advocates and child advocacy centers Child Advocacy Centers are neutral, safe locations where multidisciplinary teams investigate disclosures of child sexual or severe physical abuse. These multidisciplinary teams are made up of law enforcement officers, child protective service personnel, prosecutors, and advocates. );
* ensure that at-risk youth have the skills (education, cultural awareness, conflict resolution, drug refusal, gang resistance), opportunities (after-school and school-based activities and employment), and recognition (from mentors, school officials, parents, and other positive role models) that they need to develop into healthy adults;
* assess the risks and needs of juveniles when they first enter the system and provide graduated sanctions and programs that address the issues identified;
* respond effectively to gun violence, juvenile gangs, and serious and violent offending (for example, through police/probation partnerships, placement in juvenile residential facilities, and criminal prosecution for juveniles beyond the reach of the juvenile justice system); and
* reintegrate re·in·te·grate
tr.v. re·in·te·grat·ed, re·in·te·grat·ing, re·in·te·grates
To restore to a condition of integration or unity.
re offenders into the community through a strong system of aftercare, including monitoring the offender's behavior in the community and supplying ongoing mental health, substance abuse, or other treatment.(12)
Individuals from a wide variety of disciplines are following the OJJDP's strategy. Lawyers--in particular, litigators, legislators, and policy makers--play a significant role in implementing a comprehensive strategy, advocating for effective practices, and acting as agents for change.
Dependency court reform
Research has shown reducing child abuse and neglect will interrupt the cycle of juvenile violence. Social and protective service providers, along with child advocates, have long argued for strengthening the dependency court system, and the full force of the legal profession must now be applied to this effort.
Law schools should train students in family and dependency court practice so that a new generation of lawyers can protect the rights and serve the legal needs of abused and neglected children.
Representing children's interests produces both personal satisfaction and social benefits. Lawyers can join the guardian ad litem A guardian appointed by the court to represent the interests of Infants, the unborn, or incompetent persons in legal actions.
Guardians are adults who are legally responsible for protecting the well-being and interests of their ward, who is usually a minor. movement, provide pro bono Short for pro bono publico [Latin, For the public good]. The designation given to the free legal work done by an attorney for indigent clients and religious, charitable, and other nonprofit entities. and court-appointed representation for abused and neglected children, and advocate for the services and safe, permanent homes that these children need.
Nationwide, the OJJDP and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges have set up model dependency courts to demonstrate these practices. The OJJDP's Safe Kids/Safe Streets program recently started in Ohio and Alabama is combining criminal and dependency court processes into a coordinated, community-based system to better serve the interests of children, families, and the community.
The initiative includes better coordination between law enforcement and protective service investigators, joint interviewing of child witnesses, and more effective communication between the family and criminal court systems. An improved management information system will assist the different disciplines that work within these areas of court practice.
As the juvenile court juvenile court
Special court handling problems of delinquent, neglected, or abused children. Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, often concerning care of an abandoned or impoverished child, and criminal matters, arising from antisocial system approaches its 100th anniversary, some critics have used the commemoration to label the system a failure. However, the court system has successfully served most of its clients even as it struggled with inadequate resources and was branded second rate by many judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.
Although there are juvenile court heroes in the legal community who are working to ensure the strength of the system, there are far too few. Because we know the criminal career often begins with early delinquent conduct, the juvenile justice system should have the highest priority.
Priority status will foster adequate risk and needs assessments for all offenders, more in-depth analysis of legal competency issues, and greater attention to confinement conditions and mental health and civil rights protections for offenders.
Another result of this priority status will be greater support for effective efforts, for example:
* restitution programs that result in lower recidivism recidivism: see criminology. rates than for juveniles placed on probation alone;
* the Paint Creek Paint Creek is, according to the United States Geological Survey, an element in the name of seventy-six named streams in the United States source. Among these are:
* the Arlington County Juvenile Sex Offender sex offender n. generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex, including rape, molestation, sexual harassment and pornography production or distribution. Program in Virginia, a comprehensive treatment approach involving the adolescent offender, the offender's family, and community systems that reduces recidivism and the likelihood that the youth's behavior will escalate into more serious or violent sexual deviance.
The American Bar Association American Bar Association (ABA), voluntary organization of lawyers admitted to the bar of any state. Founded (1878) largely through the efforts of the Connecticut Bar Association, it is devoted to improving the administration of justice, seeking uniformity of law , the Youth Law Center, and the Juvenile Law An area of the law that deals with the actions and well-being of persons who are not yet adults.
In the law a juvenile is defined as a person who is not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. Center conducted a literature review as well as an extensive survey of public defender public defender, governmental official who represents indigent persons accused of crime. U.S. Supreme Court decisions expanding the right to counsel to pretrial proceedings and holding that a person cannot be sentenced to even one day in jail unless a lawyer was offices, court-appointed lawyers, and law school clinics. The resulting report documented the need for dramatic improvement in legal services legal services n. the work performed by a lawyer for a client. for juvenile offenders.(13)
In response, the OJJDP is funding a Juvenile Defender Center to provide national training and technical assistance and fulfill many of the ABA's recommendations.
Role of criminal court
Most states have passed new legislation permitting, expanding, or requiring the transfer of alleged juvenile offenders to criminal court under specified circumstances. Solid research on the consequences of this practice will enable legislatures to develop policies to improve judicial and prosecutorial pros·e·cu·to·ri·al
Of, relating to, or concerned with prosecution: "a huge investigative and prosecutorial effort" Lucian K. Truscott IV. waiver to the criminal court of juvenile cases and transfer decisions. Three OJJDP studies will compare offenders retained in the juvenile justice system with those transferred to criminal courts.
Creative approaches that provide for "blended" or "alternative" sentencing options have been adopted in several states. Minnesota, for example, has created a separate offender status ("extended jurisdiction juvenile") that provides some serious and violent juvenile offenders with a last chance at rehabilitation. If they violate the terms of a delinquency sentence, they will receive a criminal sentence.
Texas and other states are using extended jurisdiction provisions to ensure offenders are supervised by the justice system past age 21. Some states have lowered the age at which jurisdiction can be transferred to the criminal court but have made this provision optional rather than mandatory, depending on the circumstances of the case and history of the offender.(14)
There are effective solutions to the crisis of youth crime and violence, and these solutions give attorneys the opportunity to improve the lives of young people and secure the safety of our communities.
But the crisis also presents a danger in addition to the toll youth violence takes on individuals and the community. There is the danger that key leaders may seek only "quick fix" solutions and that the recent downturn in juvenile arrests will be seen as a victory rather than an occasion to sustain and increase successful efforts.
To offset these dangers, lawyers must advocate fully for prevention, intervention, and a balanced response to juvenile offending. These measures will help ensure justice for juveniles and safety for the nation's communities.
(1.) Howard N. Snyder, Juvenile Arrests 1996, JUV JUV Juvenile . JUST. BULL., Nov. 1997, at 4.
(2.) HOWARD SNYDER ET AL., JUVENILE OFFENDERS AND VICTIMS: 1996 UPDATE ON VIOLENCE AND VICTIMIZATION, OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION 14 (1996).
(3.) OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE & DELINQUENCY PREVENTION, THE PROGRAM OF RESEARCH ON THE CAUSES AND CORRELATES OF DELINQUENCY: ANNUAL REPORT 1995-1996 (Rolf D. Loeber & Terence P. Thornberry eds., 1996).
(4.) Snyder, supra A relational DBMS from Cincom Systems, Inc., Cincinnati, OH (www.cincom.com) that runs on IBM mainframes and VAXs. It includes a query language and a program that automates the database design process. note 1, at 1.
(5.) SNYDER ET AL., supra note 2, at 9.
(6.) OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE & DELINQUENCY PREVENTION, GUIDE FOR IMPLEMENTING THE COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY FOR SERIOUS, VIOLENT, AND CHRONIC JUVENILE OFFENDERS (James C. Howell ed., 1995).
(7.) 42 U.S.C. [subsections] 5601-5676 (1994).
(8.) DAVID David, in the Bible
David, d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure. HUIZINGA ET AL., RECENT FINDINGS FROM THE PROGRAM OF RESEARCH ON THE CAUSES AND CORRELATES OF DELINQUENCY (1995).
(9.) Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders, JUV. JUST BULL., May 1998, at 2.
(10.) David Olds et al., Prenatal and Early Childhood Nurse Home Visitation, JUV. JUST. BULL. (forthcoming).
(11.) Scott W. Henggeler, Treating Serious Antisocial Behavior in Youth: The MST See micro systems technology. Approach, JUV JUST. BULL., May 1997, at 1,6.
(12.) JOHN J. WILSON & JAMES C. HOWELL, COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY FOR SERIOUS, VIOLENT, AND CHRONIC JUVENILE OFFENDERS (1993); Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders, JUV. JUST. BULL., June 1995, at 1; OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE & DELINQUENCY PREVENTION, COMBATING VIOLENCE AND DELINQUENCY: THE NATIONAL JUVENILE JUSTICE ACTION PLAN (1996).
(13.) PATRICIA PATRICIA Practical Algorithm To Retrieve Information Coded In Alphanumeric
PATRICIA Proving and Testability for Reliability Improvement of Complex Integrated Architectures
PATRICIA PApilloma TRIal Cervical cancer In young Adults PURITZ, A CALL FOR JUSTICE: AN ASSESSMENT OF ACCESS TO COUNSEL AND QUALITY OF REPRESENTATION IN DELINQUENCY PROCEEDINGS (1995).
(14.) OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE & DELINQUENCY PREVENTION, JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM INITIATIVES IN THE STATES: 1994-1996, 43-48 (1997).
[Back-formation from chaise (taken as pl. )]
Noun 1. Bilchik is administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice.