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Curfew: An Answer to Juvenile Delinquency and Victimization?

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1996
12 pages
Curfews are examined with respect to recent developments in curfew ordinances, legal issues related to curfews, how jurisdictions have responded to legal challenges, the elements of sound community-based curfew programs, and examples of curfew programs and services from seven jurisdictions.
A survey of the 200 largest cities revealed that 93 had curfews in effect on January 1, 1990 and that 53 more cities enacted juvenile curfew ordinances by the spring of 1995. During the same period, 37 other cities reviewed their legislation. Legal challenges to the constitutionality of curfew ordinances are most often based on the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th amendments to the Constitution. Laws must both demonstrate a compelling government interest and narrowly tailor the means to achieve the law's objective to past constitutional muster. Comprehensive, community-based programs enacted by local governments include one or more of seven elements such a specialized centers; referrals to social service providers and counseling classes; further consequences for repeat offenders, recreation and jobs programs, antidrug and antigang programs, and hotlines. The information from the seven communities studied indicated that these comprehensive programs are helping reduce juvenile delinquency and victimization. Programs that offer a range of services are more easily and effectively enforced, receive community support, and provide a greater prevention benefit. Notes, 12 references, and list of organizations from which to obtain further information

Date Published: April 1, 1996