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September | October 2014

National Academies Release Implementation Report on Developmental Approaches to Juvenile Justice Reform

Implementing Juvenile Justice ReformThe National Academies’ National Research Council has released Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform, an OJJDP-commissioned report that offers a recommended strategic plan for the federal government to support and facilitate developmentally oriented juvenile justice reform.

The report identifies seven hallmarks of an approach to juvenile justice reform that puts into practice what is currently known from research on adolescent development and on the effectiveness of juvenile justice interventions. The following hallmarks provide a template to guide system reform:

  • Accountability without criminalization.
  • Alternatives to justice system involvement.
  • Individualized response based on assessment of needs and risks.
  • Confinement only when necessary for public safety.
  • A genuine commitment to fairness.
  • Sensitivity to disparate treatment.
  • Family engagement.

The report outlines how these hallmarks of a developmental approach should be incorporated into policies and practices within OJJDP, as well as in actions taken by state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to achieve the goals of the juvenile justice system.

Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and OJJDP, Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform draws on the findings and conclusions of a 2013 National Academies’ report that consolidated in one volume the results of research on adolescent development and the effects of justice system interventions.

"A reliance on detention and incarceration for low-level, nonviolent juvenile offenders does not promote healthy adolescent development and is not effective at reducing recidivism," said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee." As the federal agency charged with addressing juvenile delinquency, we at OJJDP are indebted to the National Academies for this set of concrete recommendations, based on careful research and scientific evidence, for reforming our juvenile system."



Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform is available on the Web site of the National Research Council.