What is Juvenile Justice?
Juvenile justice is a system of public agencies, including law enforcement, courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, probation agents, and others, that intervene with youth who commit crimes or who behave in other inappropriate ways. These agencies develop and implement coordinated prevention and intervention programs with other community partners (such as treatment providers, schools, vocational training, and recreational programs) to protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and provide treatment and rehabilitative services for young people and their families.
We know a lot about how and why children become delinquent, and how to prevent delinquency. There are many principles that have been supported in research about the best approaches to take with youth to prevent juvenile crime, including the following examples:
- Thorough risk, needs, and strengths assessment: A complete understanding of the characteristics of a youth and her/his environment is essential to help staff identify the most appropriate youth for intervention and for determining the most appropriate type and level of intervention.
- Diversion and informal handling: Handling youth at the lowest level of formal supervision helps maintain and strengthen connection to, and build responsibility in, the youth’s community.
- Culturally specific services: It is important that the interventions used with youth are appropriate to their cultural background. Prevention programs and services need to build on existing strengths and respect a youth and family’s way of viewing and understanding the world.
NPC Research and Juvenile Justice
NPC provides academically rigorous research and evaluation of juvenile justice programs while maintaining a strong commitment to working collaboratively with program staff and other key stakeholders. In addition, we report our findings and present our recommendations in ways that are designed to be used in policy development, program implementation, program management, and service delivery. NPC Research has conducted extensive work in the area of juvenile justice, including developing and testing risk and strength-based assessment tools; developing and implementing training materials; performing trainings in Oregon, Washington, New York, New Mexico, California, Washington DC/Virginia/Maryland and Alaska; evaluating juvenile crime prevention programs in community-based, juvenile justice, and tribal programs in Oregon and California; and research/evaluation, including costs, of juvenile drug courts in Oregon, Indiana, and Maryland.