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New Report on Juvenile Justice Initiatives: Less Cost, More Safety

6/7/2001:   Less Cost, More Safety: Guiding Lights for Reform in Juvenile Justice, a report by Richard Mendel, published by the American Youth Policy Forum, provides compelling evidence that greater success against adolescent crime is both within reach and available at a smaller cost.

The report profiles eight model juvenile justice initiatives serving youth in Missouri; Ft. Worth, Texas; Tennessee; Orange County, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Florida; the Houston, Texas area; and Seattle, Washington. Based on the success of these programs, the report concludes that quality intervention programs- not transfer to adult courts and correctional systems, or misdirected juvenile programming- can reduce delinquency, ease overcrowding in juvenile detention and corrections facilities, divert delinquent youth from criminal careers, and reduce reliance on expensive "residential treatment" programs for disturbed and delinquent teens. Furthermore, these programs are making communities safer and saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

The report torpedoes the popular but misguided notion that throwing the book at young offenders is the only way or the best way to combat adolescent crime. As the programs documented in the report make clear, effective tools are available to reduce recidivism by juvenile offenders. The author states that by heeding the evidence and replicating effective practices, public safety can be increased and taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars can be used more effectively.

Copies are available from the American Youth Policy Forum, 1836 Jefferson Place NW, Washington, DC 20036, 202/775-9731. Prepaid orders cost $5.00 to cover postage and handling in the contiguous United States. To download a free copy of the report (and see related fact sheets and background materials), go to http://www.aypf.org/lesscost.

In 2000, Richard Mendel authored Less Hype, More Help: Reducing Juvenile Crime, What Works- and What Doesn’t. Published jointly by the American Youth Policy Forum, CWLA, and several other agencies, copies can be ordered at http://www.cwla.org/pubs.

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