Heartened by the recent good news about the first reduction in juvenile crime and violence in a decade, those of us who work in juvenile justice are eager to build on this success and seize the opportunity presented by our increasing knowledge of what works to steer young people away from delinquency. In this issue of Juvenile Justice, we offer two very different, but complementary, articles about encouraging progress in one particularly troubling problem area and in the overall effort to combat juvenile violence and delinquency.|
In "Kids and Guns: From Playgrounds to Battlegrounds," Stuart Greenbaum begins by citing ominous statistics showing significant increases in the past two decades in gun ownership and use by juveniles. Most of the article, however, describes more positive news -- promising steps to curb violence in general and gun violence in particular. The author concludes that youth gun violence is preventable if the current public indignation generates support for national, State, and local efforts to get guns out of the hands of young people.
The second article, "The National Juvenile Justice Action Plan: A Comprehensive Response to a Critical Challenge," summarizes a comprehensive agenda to reduce youth violence. Under the leadership of Attorney General Janet Reno, the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention identified eight objectives for successfully reducing youth violence and delinquency. Author Sarah Ingersoll discusses what OJJDP and other Council members are doing to implement the National Juvenile Justice Action Plan -- and OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders, on which it is based.
After years of increasing juvenile crime and violence, an anxious public is looking to policymakers and practitioners for answers to this urgent problem. There is, of course, no single solution, but this issue of Juvenile Justice offers a glimpse of actions we can take and programs we can support to rescue at-risk children from delinquent and violent futures and make our communities safer places to live.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention