This report describes and assesses the comprehensive strategy developed in Jacksonville, Florida, to address the problem of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders.
The strategy is based on the relevant research findings and guidelines for effective programming developed by the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 1993. The strategy for preventing and responding to serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders is based in five general imperatives: strengthen the family; support core social institutions; prevent delinquency; intervene immediately and effectively; and control and identify the small group of serious juvenile offenders and apply a range of graduated sanctions. The strategy rests on a risk-focused prevention model that is based on known risk factors that exist in a community. In Jacksonville, a Comprehensive Strategy Task Force was established and charged with strategy implementation. The task force was divided into a Prevention Team and a Graduated Sanctions Team. The teams began gathering and assessing data, studying and prioritizing risk factors and risk indicators, identifying and assessing effective programs, and exploring promising approaches. Efforts in prevention have consisted largely of prioritizing the most prevalent risk factors that face Jacksonville youth, analyzing how these factors compare to State and national statistics, and identifying specific local programs and strategies that address the priority risk factors. The sanctions team obtained and analyzed local, State, and national data on crime in general and juvenile crime in particular; assessed the decision-making process in the juvenile system; and studied programs available to local juvenile authorities. After 18 months, much work remains to be done. Part of the task force's plan is to have the mayor, State attorney, and sheriff establish and co-chair a Comprehensive Strategy Board as a collaborative effort to identify, monitor, and promote juvenile prevention and rehabilitative services, as well as to advocate for children. The board will organize interested agency and community volunteers into working committees that should address the needs for community dialog, prevention, sanctions, legislation, monitoring, evaluation, and updating. The tasks of these committees are listed in this report.
Date Published: May 1, 1998
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