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Juvenile Delinquency and Community Prosecution: New Strategies for Old Problems

NCJ Number
Date Published
This monograph explains community prosecution of delinquency cases, provides an overview of the potential interface between community prosecution and juvenile justice, discusses the legal and systemic issues that the APRI (American Prosecutors Research Institute) identified during its site visits, reviews some common issues between community prosecution and juvenile justice, and compares community prosecution with the emerging juvenile justice philosophy of balanced and restorative justice.
Three core elements define community prosecution and differentiate it from traditional prosecution. These are active community involvement in defining problems and identifying solutions; prosecutor-led problem solving that focuses on the use of nontraditional enforcement efforts; and partnerships with law enforcement, other government agencies, businesses, schools, and other community-based groups. Other elements usually associated with community prosecution are a clearly defined target area and an emphasis on quality-of-life issues. By applying community prosecution techniques to a juvenile population, prosecutors can build a community-based network to assist in identifying which juveniles are the core offenders that must be removed from the community as well as the juvenile offenders who can benefit from diversion and competency development programs. By having a thorough knowledge of the community through interactions with residents and community representatives, the prosecutor has a clearer understanding of each case, the neighborhood where the crime occurred, and the impact of the case resolution on the juvenile, the victim, and the neighborhood. Linking community prosecution and juvenile justice allows the community to have a voice in matters that involve its children. This monograph provides examples of the operation of the community prosecution model in Multnomah County, OR; Middlesex County, MA.; Suffolk County, MA; and Kings County, NY. A section on common themes between community prosecution and juvenile justice discusses a role for the youth; resistance to change and the importance of staffing; working with allied agencies, communities, and other partners; and the confidentiality of records and information-sharing. Both community prosecution and the balanced and restorative justice approaches involve a strong community component and a departure from conventional charging, sentencing, or disposition alternatives. Some of he jurisdictions that have embraced the community prosecution model are also adopting the balanced and restorative justice philosophy. A list of 12 resources
Date Created: July 21, 2014