In setting priorities for funding and support, intervention programs demonstrated to be effective and efficient are preferred over programs that are well intentioned but untested by rigorous evaluation. An evidence-based approach is undeniably better than an approach based on faith or anecdotes, but the findings of existing evaluations are not sufficient by themselves as a basis for effective policy-making. Translating research into practice requires more than a review of existing studies. It requires knowledge of the research process and its limitations.
The diverse mix of policies and practices introduced in recent years raises important questions about the posture of juvenile justice today. Most scholars agree that decades of “get-tough” reforms diminished the influence of the juvenile court. Many contend that these changes rendered the criminal (adult) and juvenile justice systems largely indistinguishable. Others question these claims and suggest that rehabilitation remains a critical goal for juvenile justice professionals.
This chapter answers two deceptively simple questions, “How much juvenile crime is there today?” and “How does the level of juvenile crime today compare with juvenile crime 20 or 30 years ago?”
To make real progress in gang control, especially with prevention programs that focus on the youngest gang members and those at risk of gang involvement, researchers and practitioners must cooperate to build comprehensive interventions using frameworks that are theoretically, conceptually, and administratively sound.
This chapter reviews the cost-benefit literature on juvenile crime reduction programs, and proposes four program models that should be investigated for their potential cost-effectiveness: mentoring programs, teen courts, juvenile drug courts, and systemic reform strategies.
Elected officials throughout the U.S. are gradually dismantling the juvenile justice system and replacing it with a pseudo-criminal system, one that emphasizes mandatory sentences and formal, adversarial procedures. Is the separate, juvenile justice system still feasible? If not, what can replace it?