Juvenile Justice: Causes and Correlates

September 1, 2004

FEATURES
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
by Terence P. Thornberry, David Huizinga, and Rolf Loeber ................................3
Developing effective intervention programs based on scientific understanding of the
origins of delinquency is essential to the prevention of delinquent behavior. The
Causes and Correlates study findings have important implications for the design of
such programs.
Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs
by Phelan A. Wyrick and James C. Howell ..................................................20
Establishing a comprehensive communitywide approach may not be a practical option
for every community. Strategic risk-based responses to youth gangs can be adopted,
however, even in the absence of a communitywide response and regardless of whether
the focus is prevention, intervention, or suppression of gangs.
IN BRIEF
Justice Matters
A Community Approach to Reducing Risk Factors ............................................30
Publications
Risk and Protective Factors of Child Delinquency..............................................32
Co-occurrence of Delinquency and Other Problem Behaviors ..........................32
Juvenile Delinquency and Serious Injury Victimization......................................33
Child Delinquency: Early Intervention and Prevention ....................................33
Teenage Fatherhood and Delinquent Behavior ..................................................34
Prevalence and Development of Child Delinquency ..........................................34
Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs for Child Delinquents............35
NCJ 203555
The first step in solving any problem is to determine its causes. The most
obvious solution may not be the best. When the problem is juvenile delinquency,
the cost?in terms of human potential, public safety, and tax expenditures?is especially
high. Research that assesses how and why children become delinquent is a
sound investment because it can provide the foundation for effective intervention.
This issue of Juvenile Justice focuses on such research and its value in preventing and
combating delinquency.
The Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency works to
improve the understanding of serious delinquency, violence, and drug use by examining
youth development in the context of family, school, peers, and community.
Researchers at the program?s three sites are tracking the experiences of large samples
of high-risk children throughout their developmental years. This longitudinal research
provides important insights for program design, as principal investigators Terence
Thornberry, David Huizinga, and Rolf Loeber note in their review of the studies?
?Findings and Policy Implications.?
A major finding from the Causes and Correlates studies is an association between
gang involvement and delinquent behavior. Phelan Wyrick and James Howell
discuss how communities can use research on risk factors to address their local gang
problems more effectively through a ?Strategic Risk-Based Response.?
In this issue?s In Brief section, Susan Chibnall and Kate Abbruzzese describe how
three communities made measurable inroads against delinquency by addressing risk
factors. Publications that can help communities identify their own risk factors and
take action to create a brighter future for their children are also noted.
J. Robert Flores
Administrator
A Message From OJJDP
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 3
The Causes and
Correlates Studies:
Findings and Policy
Implications
by Terence P. Thornberry, David Huizinga, and Rolf Loeber
Delinquent behavior has long been a serious and costly problem
in American society. Although the U.S. delinquency rate has declined
since the mid-1990s, it is still among the highest in the industrialized
countries. To reduce delinquent behavior and improve societal wellbeing,
it is essential to develop effective intervention programs. In turn,
effective programs depend on a firm, scientific understanding of the origins
of delinquency. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention?s
(OJJDP?s) Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates
of Delinquency constitutes the largest, most comprehensive investigation
of the causes and correlates of delinquency ever undertaken.
Terence P. Thornberry, Ph.D.,
is Distinguished Professor at the
School of Criminal Justice, the
University at Albany, and Principal
Investigator of the Rochester
Youth Development Study.
David Huizinga, Ph.D., is a
Senior Research Associate at the
Institute of Behavioral Science at
the University of Colorado and
Principal Investigator of the
Denver Youth Survey.
Rolf Loeber, Ph.D., is Professor
of Psychiatry, Psychology, and
Epidemiology at the University
of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA,
and Principal Investigator of the
Pittsburgh Youth Study.
For the past 17 years, the program, which
consists of three longitudinal studies
(the Denver Youth Survey, the Pittsburgh
Youth Study, and the Rochester
Youth Development Study) has contributed
substantially to an understanding
of delinquent behavior. This article
summarizes a few of the many empirical
findings generated by these studies and
policy implications arising therefrom.1
The Studies
Each study uses a longitudinal design
in which a sample of children and/or
adolescents was selected and then
followed over time to chart the course of
their development. The studies oversampled
youth at high risk for serious delinquency;
however, because the studies
used statistical weighting, the samples
represent the broader population of urban
adolescents.
Denver Youth Survey
The Denver Youth Survey is based on a
probability sample of households in highrisk
neighborhoods of Denver, CO, selected
on the basis of their population,
housing characteristics, and high official
crime rates. The survey respondents
include 1,527 children who were ages 7,
9, 11, 13, or 15 in 1987 and who lived
in one of the more than 20,000 randomly
selected households. The sample of
children includes 806 boys and 721 girls.
These respondents, along with a parent
or primary caretaker, were interviewed
annually from 1988 until 1992 and from
1995 until 1999. The younger two age
groups were reinterviewed in 2003. The
sample is composed of African Americans
(33 percent), Latinos (45 percent),
whites (10 percent), and youth of other
ethnic groups (12 percent). To date,
Denver researchers have studied subjects
ranging in age from 7 through 27.
Pittsburgh Youth Study
The Pittsburgh Youth Study is based on a
sample of 1,517 boys from Pittsburgh, PA,
selected in 1987?88. To identify high-risk
subjects, an initial screening assessment of
problem behaviors was conducted in the
first, fourth, and seventh grades of the
Pittsburgh public school system. Boys who
scored above the upper 30th percentile for
their grade were identified as high risk,
and approximately 250 of them were randomly
selected for followup, along with
250 boys from the remaining 70 percent.
The subjects, parents or primary caretakers,
and teachers were interviewed at
6-month intervals for the first 5 years of
the study, although the fourth grade sample
was discontinued after seven assessments.
Since the sixth year of the study,
followups of the first and seventh grade
samples have been conducted annually.
In the followup period, researchers are
studying data regarding the sampled
youth from when they were age 7 to their
current age of 25.
Rochester Youth
Development Study
The Rochester Youth Development
Study is based on a sample of 729 boys
and 271 girls who were in the seventh
and eighth grades (ages 13?14) in the
public schools of Rochester, NY, in 1988.
The sample is composed of African
American (68 percent), Hispanic (17
percent), and white (15 percent) youth.
Each student, along with a parent or
primary caretaker, was interviewed at
6-month intervals for the first 41/2 years
of the study. From ages 20?22, the subjects
and their caretakers were interviewed
annually, and the subjects are
currently being reinterviewed at ages 28
and 30.
The Studies Collectively
These studies provide data on delinquent
behavior from 1987 to the present, and
have included more than 4,000 subjects
ranging in age from as young as 7 to as
old as 30. The samples have a strong
representation of serious, violent, and
chronic offenders. To date, more than
100,000 personal interviews have been
conducted, and volumes of additional
data from schools, police, courts, social
services, and other agencies have been
collected.
The Causes and Correlates studies have
addressed scores of different topics related
to juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice.
In the following pages, the authors
summarize just a few of these many investigations.
Some of the topics are specific
to one of the projects; other topics are
investigated with data from two or all
three projects.
Patterns of
Delinquency
The Causes and Correlates studies have
provided descriptive data that trace the
onset and development of delinquency.
Three key topics are childhood aggression,
developmental pathways to delinquency,
and the overlap of problem behaviors.
Juvenile Justice
4
Developmental Pathways
Childhood aggression that continues and
escalates as individuals age raises two key
questions: Does the movement to serious
delinquency progress in an orderly fashion,
and is there a single dominant pathway
or are there multiple pathways?
The onset of minor aggression (e.g., arguing,
bullying) tends to occur first, followed
by the onset of physical fighting
(including gang fighting), and then by
the onset of other violence such as robbery
or rape (Loeber and Hay, 1997).
These results suggest that development
toward serious forms of delinquency
tends to be orderly.
Initial research comparing single and
multiple pathways found that a model
of three distinct pathways (see figure 1)
provided the best fit to the data:
The Authority Conflict Pathway,
which starts with stubborn behavior
before age 12 and progresses to defiance
and then to authority avoidance (e.g.,
truancy).
The Covert Pathway, which starts
with minor covert acts before age 15
and progresses to property damage and
then to moderate and then to serious
delinquency.
The Overt Pathway starts with minor
aggression and progresses to physical
fighting and then to more severe violence
(no minimum age is associated
with this pathway).
Childhood Aggression
The vast majority of the youth in the
Denver and Pittsburgh studies reported
involvement in some form of physical
aggression before age 13 (85 percent of
the boys and 77 percent of the girls in
Denver and 88 percent of the boys in
Pittsburgh) (Espiritu et al., 2001). Well
over half (roughly 60 percent of both
genders in Denver and 80 percent of
the Pittsburgh boys) reported such aggression
before age 9. In addition, approximately
half of the Denver children (57
percent of the boys, 40 percent of the
girls) and 32 percent of the Pittsburgh
boys reported more serious aggression in
which the victim was hurt (bruised or
worse), and 47 percent of the boys and
28 percent of the girls in Denver and 14
percent of the Pittsburgh boys reported
assaults that resulted in more serious
injuries to the victim (e.g., cuts, bleeding
wounds, or injuries requiring medical
treatment).
As these findings indicate, aggression during
childhood is quite common, although
exactly how widespread depends on how
aggression is defined. Involvement in
aggression, however, is not necessarily
extensive or long lasting. A substantial
amount of delinquency, including aggression,
is limited to childhood. For example,
only about half (49 percent) of the
Denver children involved in minor violence
in which the victim was hurt or
injured continued this behavior for more
than 2 years. In fact, much aggressive behavior,
and an even larger proportion of
other delinquency, appears to be limited to
childhood. However, a large proportion?
about half?of aggressive children continue
to be aggressive for several years
into at least early adolescence. Exactly
what distinguishes children who cease
to be aggressive and those who continue
remains to be determined.
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 5
What distinguishes children who cease
to be aggressive and those who continue?
Zhang, 1997). Researchers found some
evidence that development along more
than one pathway was orderly. For example,
aggressive boys committing overt
acts were particularly at risk of also committing
covert acts, but not vice versa.
Further, conflict with authority figures
was either a precursor or a concomitant
of boys? escalation in overt or covert acts
(Loeber et al., 1993). Also, an early age of
onset of problem behavior or delinquency
was associated with escalation to more
serious behaviors in all the pathways
(Tolan, Gorman-Smith, and Loeber,
2000). The pathway model accounted
for the majority of the most seriously
delinquent boys, that is, those who selfreported
high rates of offending (Loeber
et al., 1993; Loeber, Keenan, and Zhang,
These results were replicated for African
American and white boys in Pittsburgh
across three age samples (Loeber et al.,
1993, 1998). They have also been replicated
in a sample of African American
and Hispanic adolescents in Chicago
and in a nationally representative U.S.
sample of adolescents (Tolan, Gorman-
Smith, and Loeber, 2000). Replications
also have been successfully undertaken
in the Denver Youth Survey and the
Rochester Youth Development Study
(Loeber et al., 1999).
As they became older, some boys progressed
on two or three pathways, indicating
an increasing variety of problem
behaviors over time (Kelley et al., 1997;
Loeber et al., 1993; Loeber, Keenan, and
Juvenile Justice
6
Figure 1: Developmental Pathways to Serious and Violent
Offending
Violence
rape, attack,
strong-arm,
homicide
Physical Fighting
physical fighting,
gang fighting
Minor Aggression
annoying others,
bullying
Serious
Delinquency
auto theft,
burglary
Moderately Serious
Delinquency
fraud, pick pocketing
Property Damage
vandalism, fire setting
Minor Covert
Behavior
shoplifting, frequent lying
Authority
Avoidance
truancy, running away,
staying out late
Defiance/Disobedience
Stubborn Behavior
Overt Pathway Covert Pathway
(before age 15)
Age of Onset:
Late
Early Authority Conflict Pathway
(before age 12)
Percentage of Boys:
Few
Many
1997) or those who were court-reported
delinquents (Loeber, Keenan, and
Zhang, 1997).
The pathway model shows that the warning
signs of early onset of disruptive behavior
cannot necessarily be dismissed with
a ?this-will-soon-pass? attitude (Kelley et
al., 1997). However, it is not yet possible
to distinguish accurately between boys
whose problem behaviors will worsen over
time and those who will improve. The
pathway model is a way to help identify
youth at risk and optimize early interventions
before problem behavior becomes
entrenched and escalates.
The Overlap of Problem
Behaviors
The pathways analyses found that many
delinquent youth, especially the more
serious offenders, engaged in multiple
forms of delinquency. Many youth who
commit serious offenses also experience
difficulties in other areas of life. With the
exception of drug use, however, little is
known about the overlap of these problem
behaviors in general populations. Do
most youth who commit serious delinquent
acts have school and mental health
problems? Are most youth who have
school or mental health problems also
seriously delinquent?
The Causes and Correlates studies examined
these questions in all three
sites (Huizinga and Jakob-Chien, 1998;
Huizinga, Loeber, and Thornberry, 1993;
Huizinga et al., 2000). Recognizing that
involvement in delinquency or in other
problem behaviors can be transitory or
intermittent, the studies examined the
level of overlap of more persistent drug
use, school problems, and mental health
problems2 that lasted for at least 2 of the
3 years examined (Huizinga et al., 2000).
There was some consistency of findings
for males across sites. Although a sizeable
proportion of persistent and serious offenders
do have other behavioral problems,
more than half do not. Thus, it
would be incorrect to characterize persistent
and serious delinquents generally
as having drug, school, or mental health
problems. On the other hand, drug,
school, and mental health problems are
strong risk factors for involvement in
persistent and serious delinquency, and
more than half (55?73 percent) of the
male respondents in all three sites with
two or more persistent problems were
also persistent and serious delinquents.
For females, the findings were different
and varied by site. As with the males,
fewer than half of the persistent and serious
female delinquents had drug, school,
or mental health problems. In contrast
to males, however, these problems alone
or in combination were not strong risk
factors for serious delinquency. This result
stems, in part, from the fact that a substantially
smaller proportion of girls (5
percent) than boys (20?30 percent) was
involved in persistent and serious delinquency,
while their rates (within sites) of
other problem behaviors were roughly
similar to those of males.
It is important to note that these findings
are for general population samples. Additional
analyses of the Denver data found
substantial differences between population
findings and findings among youth
who had been arrested and became involved
in the juvenile justice system
(Huizinga and Elliott, 2003). Among
males who were persistent and serious
offenders, 69 percent of those who had
been arrested had one or more problems,
whereas only 37 percent of those who
had not been arrested had such problems.
Although there were too few persistent
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 7
serious offenders among females to permit
control of delinquent involvement,
81 percent of the females who were
arrested had one or more problems compared
with only 1?2 percent among
females who were not arrested.
Thus there appears to be a concentration
of offenders entering the juvenile justice
system who have drug use, school, or
mental health-related problems. Accordingly,
the capability to identify the particular
configuration of problems facing
individual offenders and provide interventions
to address these problems
is critical to the effectiveness of the
juvenile justice system.
Two Key Risk Factors
for Delinquency
The Causes and Correlates studies have
investigated a host of risk factors involving
child behavior, family functioning,
peer behavior, school performance, and
neighborhood characteristics that precede
and potentially lead to delinquency. Findings
on just two topics?child maltreatment
and gangs?are summarized here.3
Child Maltreatment
Prior research indicates that child maltreatment
(e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse,
neglect) that occurs at some point prior
to age 18 is a risk factor for delinquency
(Widom, 1989; Zingraff et al., 1993). This
relationship was also observed in the Pittsburgh
and Rochester studies (Smith and
Thornberry, 1995; Stouthamer-Loeber et
al., 2001, 2002). In the Rochester study,
for example, Smith and Thornberry
(1995) found that subjects maltreated
before age 12, who may or may not also
have been maltreated between ages 12
and 18, were significantly more likely to
be arrested and to self-report more delinquency,
especially serious and violent
delinquency, than subjects who had not
been maltreated prior to age 12 (see also
Widom, 1989; Zingraff et al., 1993).
While prior studies have made important
contributions to the literature, they do
not explicitly take adolescent maltreatment
into account. This results in two
problems. First, the victims of childhood
maltreatment referred to above actually
contain two groups: those victimized in
childhood only and those victimized in
childhood and adolescence. Second, the
comparison group, youth who were never
maltreated, is likely to include some youth
who were actually maltreated in adolescence
(i.e., after age 12), but not in childhood.
Because of these issues, it is hard to
know if the previous conclusion?that
childhood maltreatment is a risk factor for
delinquency?is accurate. Relying on its
longitudinal design, the Rochester project
was able to reexamine the link between
maltreatment and delinquency, taking
into account when the maltreatment occurred
(Ireland, Smith, and Thornberry,
2002; Thornberry, Ireland, and Smith,
2001).
Of the subjects in the Rochester study, 78
percent were never maltreated and 22 percent
were. Of the latter, 11 percent were
maltreated in childhood only (before age
12 but not after), 8 percent were maltreated
in adolescence only, and 3 percent
were persistently maltreated (i.e., they had
at least one substantiated case in childhood
and at least one in adolescence).
The relationship to delinquency is intriguing.
Figure 2 presents self-reported and
official arrest data on the prevalence of
delinquency for four groups of youth:
those who were never maltreated, those
who were maltreated in childhood only,
those who were maltreated in adolescence
only, and those who were persistently
maltreated. For self-reported general delinquency
that occurs from ages 16 to 18,4
the subjects who were maltreated during
childhood only were not at significantly
Juvenile Justice
8
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 9
greater risk for delinquency (53.8 percent)
than those who were never maltreated
(49.6 percent). Subjects maltreated during
adolescence, however, were at significantly
greater risk. The delinquency level
for the adolescence-only group (69.8 percent)
was significantly higher than that
for those who were never maltreated, and
the delinquency level for those persistently
maltreated?in both childhood and
adolescence?was the highest (71.4 percent).
The same pattern of results applies
to other self-reported measures of delinquency:
drug use, violent crime, and street
crime (Ireland, Smith, and Thornberry,
2002). For official arrest records, 21.3 percent
of youth who were never maltreated
had arrest records and 23.5 percent of
youth who were maltreated in childhood
only had arrest records. In contrast, 50.7
percent of youth maltreated in adolescence
had arrest records and 50.0 percent of
youth maltreated in both developmental
stages had been arrested. The latter rates
are significantly higher than the rate for
those never maltreated.
Gangs
The Rochester project also investigated
how gang membership influences adolescent
development. The results have
recently been published in Gangs and
Delinquency in Developmental Perspective
(Thornberry et al., 2003). Key findings
are summarized here, as are findings from
the Denver Youth Survey.
Approximately 30 percent of the Rochester
subjects joined a gang at some
point during the 4-year period covering
ages 14?18. The membership rate was
virtually identical for boys (32 percent)
Figure 2: Maltreatment and Delinquency
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Self-Reported General Delinquency Arrest
Type of Maltreatment
Persistent Adolescence only Childhood only None
Prevalence of Delinquency (percent)
Juvenile Justice
10
and girls (29 percent). Gang membership
turned out to be a rather fleeting experience
for most of these youth. Half of the
male gang members reported being in a
gang for 1 year or less, and only 7 percent
reported being a gang member for all
4 years. Two-thirds (66 percent) of the
females were in a gang for 1 year or less
and none reported being a member for
all 4 years.
Although fleeting, gang membership had
a tremendous impact on the lives of these
youth. Gang members?both male and
female?accounted for the lion?s share of
all delinquency. Although gang members
were only 30 percent of the studied population,
they were involved in 63 percent
of all delinquent acts (excluding gang
fights), 82 percent of serious delinquencies,
70 percent of drug sales, and 54 percent
of all arrests.
Two explanations for the strong association
between gang membership and delinquency
are frequently raised. One focuses
on the individual: gangs attract antisocial
adolescents who will likely get into
trouble whether or not they are in a gang.
The second focuses on the group: individual
gang members are not fundamentally
different from nonmembers, but when
they are in the gang, the gang facilitates
their involvement in delinquency.
If the second explanation is correct, gang
members should have higher rates of delinquency
only during the period of membership,
not before or after that period.
That is precisely what the Rochester data
showed, as illustrated in figure 3. This
pattern is found across the 4-year period
studied and is observed for various offenses,
particularly violence, drug sales,
and illegal gun ownership and use.
The impact of being in a street gang is not
limited to its short-term effect on delinquent
behavior. It also contributes to
disorderly transitions from adolescence
to adulthood. As compared with individuals
who were never members of a gang,
male gang members were significantly
more likely to drop out of school, get a
girl pregnant, become a teenage father,
cohabit with a woman without being
married, and have unstable employment.
Female gang members were significantly
more likely to become pregnant, become
a teenage mother, and to have unstable
employment.
The relationship between gang membership
and delinquency has also been investigated
in the Denver Youth Survey and
in other studies, including a companion
project in Bremen, Germany (Esbensen
and Huizinga, 1993; Esbensen, Huizinga,
and Weiher, 1993; Hill et al., 1996;
Huizinga, 1997, 1998; Huizinga and
Schumann, 2001). Many of Rochester?s
findings about gang membership were
replicated in Denver?s high-risk sample.
For example, a fair proportion of both genders
in Denver?18 percent of the males
and 9 percent of the females?have been
gang members. Denver findings also
reveal that gang members accounted for
a very disproportionate amount of crime,
as do findings in the other studies (Hill et
al., 1996; Huizinga and Schumann,
2001). Denver male and female gang
members accounted for approximately
80 percent of all serious and violent
crime (excluding gang fights) committed
by the sample. Further, over a 5-year
period, these individuals committed the
vast majority of crimes while they were
gang members (e.g., 85 percent of their
serious violent offenses, 86 percent of
their serious property offenses, and 80
percent of their drug sale offenses). The
social processes of being an active gang
member clearly facilitate or enhance
involvement in delinquent behavior.
The studies have also investigated the
developmental processes leading to gang
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 11
membership. In the Denver sample,
although gang members and nonmembers
were similar in many respects, there
were substantial differences between
gang members and other serious delinquents
in the years preceding gang membership.
In the years before they became
gang members, individuals were more
likely to be involved in higher levels of
minor and serious delinquency and drug
use, were more involved with delinquent
peers, and were less involved with conventional
peers. They also displayed
weaker beliefs about the wrongfulness
Figure 3: Self-Reported General Delinquency for Males
Active in a Gang for 1 out of 4 Years Studied
0
10
20
30
40
50
1 2 3 4
Year of Study
Number of Offenses
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
1 2 3 4
Year of Study
Number of Offenses
Gang Members in Year 1 Only
Gang Members in Year 3 Only
Juvenile Justice
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of delinquent behavior and a greater willingness
to make excuses for involvement
in delinquent behavior. The Rochester
project found these variables, measured
in early adolescence, to be significant
risk factors for joining a gang as well
(Thornberry et al., 2003). Poor school
performance and brittle parent-child relationships
also increased the risk of gang
membership.
Because of the very high contribution of
gang members to the volume of crime,
developing effective gang prevention and
intervention programs is important and
urgent. Police data on gang crimes are
helpful in identifying sites particularly
affected by gang activity and in providing
information for the evaluation of gang
intervention activities. Among police
departments that collect gang-related
data, however, some define gang crimes as
any crime committed by a gang member,
others require that several gang members
be involved in the offense, and yet others
collect both kinds of information. The
Denver study found that although gang
members committed more group crimes
than other delinquent youth, both before
and after joining a gang, they also committed
more offenses while alone than
other youth. For example, more than
one-third of their serious assaults were
committed while alone (Huizinga, 1996).
Thus, the measurement difference appears
to be significant.
Given the large contribution of gang
members to the total volume and location
of crime, it would seem helpful for
police departments to collect and separate
both kinds of data to provide information
about the nature of the local
gang problem and to help plan local
intervention activities. For more information
on risk factors as they relate
to gangs, see ?Strategic Risk-Based
Response to Youth Gangs? on page 20.
Responding to
Delinquency
There are various ways to respond to
juvenile crime, including interventions
through the juvenile justice system and
the provision of general social services
or specialized prevention and treatment
programs. The Causes and Correlates
studies have investigated these different
strategies, and the longitudinal results
suggest alternative strategies.
Arrest
The Denver study conducted several examinations
of the impact of arrest using
various analytical strategies (Esbensen,
Thornberry, and Huizinga, 1991; Huizinga
and Esbensen, 1992; Huizinga, Esbensen,
and Weiher, 1996; Huizinga et al., 2003).
The findings from these studies are quite
consistent. In general, arrest has little
impact on subsequent delinquent behavior,
and when it does have an impact,
it is most likely an increase in future
delinquent behavior. These findings are
in agreement with several other studies
of the impact of arrest (Klein, 1986;
Sherman et al., 1997). In addition, those
who are arrested and incarcerated as juveniles
are substantially more likely to be
incarcerated as adults (Huizinga, 2000).
There are different possible explanations
for these findings. For example, those arrested
may be more serious offenders who
are on a different life trajectory than delinquents
who are not arrested. However,
arrest and sanctioning do not appear to
have had the desired effect on the future
offending of many delinquent youth. It
should be noted that arrest and sanctions
need not demonstrate an ameliorative effect
to justify their use because the need
to protect public safety, perceived needs
for retribution, and the influence of
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 13
these actions on general deterrence within
the population cannot be disregarded.
Nevertheless, the findings do suggest that
arrest and subsequent sanctions generally
have not been a particularly viable strategy
for the prevention of future delinquency
and that other alternatives are needed.
The findings also suggest that the use of
the least restrictive sanctions, within the
limits of public safety, and enhanced reentry
assistance, monitoring, and support
may reduce future delinquency.
Given these general observations, it also
must be observed that progress has been
made and continues to be made. There
are some intervention programs within
the juvenile justice system that have been
shown to reduce future delinquency;
other promising programs are currently
being evaluated (Aos et al., 2001; Howell,
2003; Huizinga and Mihalic, 2003; Lipsey
and Wilson, 1998; Mihalic et al., 2001;
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, 2001).
Utilization of Services
Several service-providing agencies can
potentially help both youth involved in
delinquency and their families. These
agencies include the juvenile justice system
and external agencies such as schools
and social services. Are they utilized?
The Pittsburgh Youth Study investigated
this question by examining the extent
to which the parents of delinquent boys
received help for dealing with their problems
(Stouthamer-Loeber, Loeber, and
Thomas, 1992; Stouthamer-Loeber et al.,
1995). The study considered help received
from anyone (including lay people) and
from professionals (especially mental
health professionals). In general, seeking
help for behavior problems was twice as
common for the oldest boys as compared
with the youngest (21 percent versus 11
percent, respectively). In 25 percent of
the cases, however, seeking help resulted
in only one contact with a help provider,
and it is doubtful that positive results
were achieved in one session.
The percentage of parents who sought
any help?help for behavior problems or
help from mental health professionals?
increased with the seriousness of the
delinquency. However, less than half of
the parents of seriously delinquent boys
received any help, and only one-quarter
of the parents of these boys received
help from a mental health professional
(Stouthamer-Loeber, Loeber, and
Thomas, 1992).
Help in schools. Division of the Pittsburgh
sample into four groups (nondelinquents,
persistent nonserious offenders,
persistent property offenders, and persistent
violent offenders) showed that all
three persistent offender groups were
placed in special education classes for
learning problems at the same rate as
nondelinquents (less than 10 percent).
However, more of the persistently delinquent
boys, as compared with the nondelinquent
boys, were placed in classes
for behavior problems; this was particularly
true for the violent boys (22.3 percent
versus 2.8 percent of the nondelinquents).
Nevertheless, three-quarters (77.7 percent)
of the persistent violent offenders
were never placed in a class for behavior
problems, and two-thirds were never
placed in any special class.
Programs within the juvenile justice
system have reduced future delinquency.
Juvenile Justice
14
It is commonly believed that certain
groups of boys receive a disproportionate
share of resources from various agencies.
When researchers examined persistent
property and persistent violent offenders,
they found that just under half did not
receive any help inside or outside of
school (about 48 percent), and only
15.4 percent of the persistent property
offenders and persistent violent offenders
received help from mental health professionals
in addition to help in school.
Steps in developmental pathways.
Stouthamer-Loeber and colleagues (1995)
compared movement along the developmental
pathways described above with
seeking help for services. In general, the
higher the advancement in multiple pathways,
the higher the chances that help
was sought. An early onset of disruptive
behaviors, however, did not increase the
frequency at which help was sought.
Court contact. Comparison of courtinvolved
boys with those who had not
had court contact showed that the former
group received more intensive help.
It may be possible that court intervention
brought the necessity for help to the
parents? attention. Only 17 percent of
the boys? parents sought help before the
year in which their boys were referred to
the juvenile court.
In summary, the development of disruptive
and delinquent behaviors was largely
left unchecked by parents and helping
agencies. These findings have important
implications for policymakers and planners
of preventive interventions. Merely
having programs available may not be
adequate; outreach to the most seriously
delinquent youth and their families may
also be essential.
Implications for
Prevention
Although the projects of the Program of
Research on the Causes and Correlates of
Delinquency were not designed to evaluate
preventive interventions, program
findings have important implications for
the design of appropriate interventions.
Knowledge of developmental pathways is
relevant for interventions, in that pathways
reflect current problem behaviors
in the context of the history of problem
behaviors. Knowledge of pathways also
helps identify future problem behaviors
that need to be prevented.
The studies examined how long disruptive
behaviors had been apparent in boys who
eventually were referred to the juvenile
court for an index offense5 (Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
1998). The average age at which
individuals took their first step in any of
the pathways was approximately 7; moderately
serious problem behavior began
at about age 9.5 and serious delinquency
at about age 12. The average age at which
youth first came into contact with the
juvenile court was 14.5. Thus, approximately
71/2 years elapsed between the
earliest emergence of disruptive behavior
and the first contact with the juvenile
court. It should be noted that delinquent
boys who were not referred to the juvenile
court also tended to have long histories
of problem behaviors.
Research findings from all three Causes
and Correlates projects show that youth
who start their delinquency careers before
age 13 are at higher risk of becoming
serious and violent offenders than those
who start their delinquency careers later
(Huizinga, Esbensen, and Weiher, 1994;
The Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and Policy Implications
Volume IX| Number 1 15
Krohn et al., 2001; Loeber and Farrington,
1998, 2001). These results imply that
preventive interventions to reduce offending
should be available at least from the
beginning of elementary school-age onward.
However, it is important to be
mindful of the results of the studies? investigation
of childhood offending. Many
of the aggressive children did not progress
to serious involvement in serious juvenile
crime. This suggests that great care
is needed in the design of intervention
programs for aggressive children. Not all
programs are benign, and some may lead
to or exacerbate later problems (Dishion,
McCord, and Poulin, 1999).
Further research is needed to identify
those individuals whose childhood aggression
leads to violent behavior later in life.
Intervention programs for aggressive children
must be developed, and the outcomes
for the children served by these
programs must be carefully evaluated.
The pathways model may be particularly
helpful in designing these interventions.
Overall, it seems that the judicious use of
early interventions known to have longterm
effectiveness is warranted.
In addition, although it is ?never too
early? to try to prevent offending, it is
also ?never too late? to intervene and attempt
to reduce the risk of recidivism for
serious offending (Loeber and Farrington,
1998). There is a complex relationship
between when individuals begin to commit
offenses and how long they persist.
A full range of developmentally appropriate
and scientifically validated programs
is needed.
The Causes and Correlates results regarding
the impact of maltreatment are
consistent with the importance of developmentally
appropriate interventions. It
does not appear that childhood-only maltreatment,
as long as it does not continue
into adolescence, is a risk factor for delinquency.
Sources of resiliency, including,
perhaps, effective services, must come into
play to help children overcome this adversity.
Understanding these resiliency
processes is an important goal for future
research, as these processes have important
implications for the design of programs.
Maltreatment that occurs during adolescence,
however, appears to be a substantial
risk factor for later delinquency. This
Program of Research on the Causes
and Correlates of Delinquency
For additional information about OJJDP?s
Causes and Correlates projects, contact:
Denver Youth Survey
David Huizinga, Ph.D.
University of Colorado at Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
Campus Box 442
Boulder, CO 80309
303?492?1266
huizinga@colorado.edu
Pittsburgh Youth Study
Rolf Loeber, Ph.D., or
Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, Ph.D.
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
University of Pittsburgh
3811 O?Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412?647?7118 or 412?647?7114
loeberr@upmc.edu
stouthamerloeberm@upmc.edu
Rochester Youth Development Study
Terence P. Thornberry, Ph.D.
School of Criminal Justice
University at Albany
135 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
518?442?5218
t.thornberry@albany.edu
Juvenile Justice
16
suggests the need for enhanced services
for adolescent victims and, in particular,
for services that reduce the chances of
delinquent behavior. As Garbarino (1989)
has pointed out, however, few treatment
programs for adolescent victims exist, and
it is often quite difficult to enroll adolescent
victims and their families in the
available programs. Much greater attention
needs to be devoted to the topic of
adolescent maltreatment and how it functions
as a risk factor for delinquency.
A general strategy for reducing youth
crime also needs to be mindful of the
sizeable impact that gang membership
has on serious and violent delinquency.
Working directly with gangs, however,
has not yet proved successful and can
even be counterproductive. It may be
more productive for juvenile justice practitioners
to use gang membership as a
marker variable and send gang members,
on an individual basis, to programs for
serious delinquency that are proven
effective (see Thornberry et al., 2003).
Several excellent summaries identify
and describe these programs (see Howell,
2003; Huizinga and Mihalic, 2003; Loeber
and Farrington, 1998 (Part II); Mihalic
et al., 2001; U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, 2001). Regardless
of whether an indirect approach is used
or whether gang members are sent individually
to proven effective programs,
intervening with gang members is an
important component in reducing a
community?s level of youth crime and
violence.
Notes
1. Longer, more detailed summaries of these
studies can be found in Taking Stock of Delinquency:
An Overview of Findings from Contemporary
Longitudinal Studies (Thornberry and
Krohn, 2003).
2. Drug use included use of marijuana, inhalants,
and hard drugs. School problems
included poor grades and dropping out of
school. Mental health problems were indicated
by scores in the top 10 percent of
either an emotional problem or nondelinquent
behavioral problem measure.
3. For information about other topics
reviewed by the Causes and Correlates
Studies, see box on page 15.
4. The authors focused on these ages to preserve
proper temporal order, but the pattern of
results presented here applies more generally.
5. The index crimes of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation include homicide, rape, robbery,
aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto
theft, and arson.
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Volume IX| Number 1 19
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Juvenile Justice
20
Strategic Risk-Based
Response to Youth
Gangs
by Phelan A. Wyrick and James C. Howell
Once a community pinpoints its most prevalent local problems
and links them to specific risk factors, it is able to develop strategies
that address the root causes of those problems. This article illustrates
how local leaders can use risk factor research in their efforts to address
one such problem that affects communities nationwide?gangs.
strategic risk-based response discussed in
this article is not a specific program; rather,
it is an approach to developing and
implementing programs that draws on an
understanding of youth gangs, risk factors,
and state-of-the-art practices in program
design. Comprehensive approaches still
remain the ideal community-level response
to youth gangs. Many communities, however,
cannot implement comprehensive
programs for a variety of legitimate reasons,
and these communities can benefit
from developing a strategic risk-based
response to youth gangs.
A strategic risk-based response must be
grounded in a general understanding of
youth gangs combined with an indepth
knowledge of local youth gang problems.
A community?s assessment of its gang
problem, in turn, must be based on an understanding
of how a variety of risk factors
relate to the onset and persistence of
local gang activity and youth violence.
The strategic response should implement
OJJDP and others have long advocated
for comprehensive approaches to youth
gangs that involve multiagency collaboration
and a combination of prevention,
intervention, and suppression efforts
(Howell, 2000; Huff, 2002; Spergel,
1995). There is a sound theoretical
basis and growing evidence (see Spergel
et al., 1999) to support the belief that
such approaches will likely have the
greatest communitywide impact. Establishing
a comprehensive communitywide
approach is a long-term effort, however,
and it may not be a practical option if,
for example, key community agencies are
unwilling or unable to make responding
to youth gangs a priority.
This article presents a framework for a
strategic risk-based response to youth
gangs that can be adopted even without
full communitywide collaboration and
regardless of whether the primary focus is
prevention, intervention, or suppression
or a combination of these methods. The
Phelan A. Wyrick, Ph.D., is
the Gang Program Coordinator
at OJJDP.
James C. Howell, Ph.D., is
Adjunct Researcher at the
National Youth Gang Center,
Tallahassee, FL.
Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs
Volume IX| Number 1 21
state-of-the-art practices in program design
to focus activities, optimize resources,
and allow for tracking of program effectiveness.
These topics are each addressed
below.
Understanding
Youth Gangs
Most U.S. residents live in or around
a city that has experienced youth gang
activity since at least the mid-1990s
(Egley, 2002), and much earlier in some
cities. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated
that gang members commit
property, weapons, drug, and violent offenses
at significantly higher rates than
youth who are not involved in gangs
(Huff, 1998; Thornberry et al., 2003)
and even than other delinquent youth
(Battin et al., 1998). Throughout the
nation, lives are lost and devastated every
day because of youth gangs. Although
thousands of programs have been implemented
that, directly or indirectly, address
gang involvement (Gottfredson and
Gottfredson, 2001), the ongoing difficulties
with youth gangs make one lesson
very clear: there are no quick fixes or
easy solutions for the problems that youth
gangs create or the problems that create
youth gangs.
Part of the challenge to effectively responding
to youth gangs is countering
common assumptions about gangs that
may not accurately reflect local problems.
For example, many people assume
that youth gangs are hierarchical organizations
that control complex criminal
endeavors such as drug trafficking. In
contrast, many researchers have concluded
that youth gangs are typically
loose in structure with low levels of
organizational sophistication (Curry
and Decker, 2003; Decker and Van
Winkle, 1996; Klein, 1995; Weisel,
2002). Gangs in any given locality may
be more or less sophisticated in their
organization and criminality, but it is
critical that communities not attempt to
treat all gangs equally based on untested
assumptions. Differences in organizational
sophistication suggest differences in the
responses that are likely to be effective.
Existing research and certain specialized
law enforcement training can provide
excellent information about how gangs
operate generally. However, gangs vary
tremendously across and within communities
(see Howell, Egley, and Gleason,
2002; Valdez, 2000). Thus, general knowledge
about gangs should be supplemented
with information gathered through a
local assessment of gang problems. The
National Youth Gang Center (2002a) has
developed a gang problem assessment protocol
that has been tested in approximately
20 sites, ranging from small rural areas
to large urban localities.1 Quantitative
and qualitative data are collected to
answer key questions such as: What, where
are, and when are gang crimes being committed?
How have these changed over
time? What are the characteristics of
youth involved in gangs or at risk of gang
involvement? How do residents and community
leaders perceive and define the
problem?
The problem assessment begins by clearly
defining what is meant by gang, gang
member, and gang-related offenses. A resource
inventory is conducted to identify
services in the community that are being
provided or could be provided to at-risk
youth, gang members, and their families.
The assessment protocol is designed to
be very thorough and requires considerable
collaboration. Programs with limited
resources can adapt the protocol by
focusing on issues of highest relevance
or making adjustments to obtain similar
information at lower cost.2
Juvenile Justice
22
A common challenge to conducting gang
problem assessments is the availability of
gang crime data. Many jurisdictions lack
any mechanism for tracking gang crime,
even though one can be quite simple to
implement. A tracking system for gang
crime requires little more than a check
box on incident and arrest reports, a standard
operational definition for determining
whether an incident is gang related,
and appropriate training and oversight of
law enforcement personnel. Such a system
provides a community baseline of gang
activity that can be sorted in multiple ways
and compared against future measures for
evaluation purposes. In addition, tracking
systems improve the ability to target resources
during program implementation.
Risk Factors
Recent youth gang research has produced
three important findings regarding the
impact of risk factors on the likelihood of
gang membership. First, risk factors for
gang membership span all major risk factor
domains?individual characteristics,
family conditions, school performance,
peer group influences, and the community
context?that research has shown to be
related to various adolescent problem behaviors,
including serious violence and
delinquency.
Second, the accumulation of risk factors
greatly increases the likelihood of gang
involvement, just as it increases the likelihood
of other problem behaviors. Researchers
in a Seattle study (Hill et al.,
1999) found that the presence of risk
factors from any of the five major domains
in youth ages 10?12 was predictive of
their joining a gang at ages 13?18. Children
with 7 or more risk factors were 13
times more likely to join a gang than
children with no risk factors or only 1.
Third, the presence of risk factors in multiple
domains appears to increase the likelihood
of gang involvement even more
than the general accumulation of risk
factors.3 Researchers in the Rochester
Youth Development Study (Thornberry
et al., 2003) found that a majority (61
percent) of the boys and 40 percent of the
girls who scored above the median in
seven risk factor domains4 were gang
members. Approximately 20 percent of
the Rochester youth who experienced
risk in four to six domains joined a gang.
These findings demonstrate that there is
no single cause for youth gang membership
or delinquency. Therefore, isolated
efforts to target a single risk factor or even
a single domain are unlikely to have much
success in reducing a community?s gang
problems. It is the accumulation of risk
factors across domains that greatly contributes
to the likelihood of gang membership
and delinquency. Thus, communities need
to address not only multiple risk factors,
but multiple risk factor domains. One way
to do this is to implement a comprehensive
communitywide approach to gang
prevention, intervention, and suppression
involving a broad representation of community
leaders and including community
grassroots efforts (see National Youth
Gang Center, 2002b).
Another way to address multiple risk factors
across domains is through a coordinated
partnership between programs that
have succeeded in eliminating a single
risk factor or risk domain or in neutralizing
its negative impact. To be effective
in reducing gang problems, such a partnership
must be developed and managed
with a broad understanding of local risk
factors across domains. The partnership
must also coordinate existing programs
that address complimentary risk factors
Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs
Volume IX| Number 1 23
in the same population. For example, a
partnership could involve an intensive
probation program that ensures accountability
of youth with a history of violence
(individual-level risk factor), an afterschool
program that provides prosocial
activities and tutoring to improve school
attitudes and performance (school risk
factor), and a parenting skills program
that addresses childcare and parent-child
relationships (family risk factor). This
partnership is likely to have the greatest
impact if the programs involve the same
high-risk population (Howell, 2003a).
Beyond addressing multiple risk factors
across domains, consideration should be
given to the relative importance of the
risk factor. Researchers have not developed
a definitive ranking of risk factors
that are consistently more or less important
in predicting gang membership and
violent behavior, and such a list may not
be forthcoming soon. However, Lipsey
and Derzon?s (1998) meta-analysis of 34
independent longitudinal studies identified
five levels of risk factors based on
how important they were for predicting
violence and serious delinquency at ages
15?25 when measured at ages 6?11 and
12?14. The most important predictors at
ages 12?14 were having antisocial peers
such as gang members or having few social
ties at all. The next set of ranked
risk factors included poor school attitude
and performance, aggression, poor parentchild
relationships, psychological conditions,
prior physical violence, and being
a male. Important predictors for the
younger group (ages 6?11) were general
delinquency, substance use, being a male,
coming from a disadvantaged family,
and having antisocial parents. Researchbased
rankings can be important starting
points, but communities should confirm
or modify such information based on data
and knowledge of local risk factors.
Communities should also consider the
feasibility of modifying conditions of
risk. Certain risk factors?gender, for
example?cannot be affected by any kind
of program. Others, such as community
disorganization, are quite difficult to influence
and may require very long commitments,
and still others, such as school
performance, may be more amenable to
change with fewer resources.
Acknowledging both a risk factor?s importance
and its amenability to change may
allow for more effective use of limited resources.
If the risk factors most important
to the local gang problem are also the
most difficult to change, it is likely that
chances for success will hinge on whether
the effort is well funded, broad stakeholder
support is present at the highest levels,
and the effort focuses on the long term in
achieving results. Absent such resources,
a sizeable community-level impact may
still be realized by addressing risk factors
that are more amenable to change but
are perhaps of lower overall importance.
The following sections identify key risk
factors for gang membership by domain,
including those that are the most likely
to be amenable to change by gang prevention
and intervention programs. For
a detailed review of risk factors found in
Acknowledging a risk factor?s importance
and amenability to change may allow for
effective use of limited resources.
Juvenile Justice
24
longitudinal studies, see ?Youth Gangs:
Prevention and Intervention? (Howell,
2003b); for a complete list of risk factors
found in other kinds of studies, see Youth
Gangs: An Overview (Howell, 1998,
pp. 6?7).
Individual Risk Factors
The most dysfunctional youth, particularly
those on a trajectory of worsening antisocial
behavior, are most likely to join
gangs (Lahey et al., 1999). The individual
risk factors for future gang membership
appear at a very early age (Howell, 2003b).
For example, increasing levels of conduct
disorders?measured thus far as early as
the first grade?predict gang involvement.
Youth who use drugs and who are also
involved in delinquency?violent delinquency
in particular?are more likely to
become gang members than those who
are not as involved in delinquency and
drug use (Thornberry et al., 2003). Early
dating, precocious sexual activity, and
negative life events5 are also strong predictors.
It is very difficult to influence
early conduct disorders and negative life
events, but programs that prevent or
postpone sexual activity and deter drug
use among delinquent youth may hold
greater chances for success.
Family Risk Factors
Key family risk factors for gang membership
include the family structure (e.g.,
broken home), family poverty, child abuse
or neglect, and gang involvement of family
members (Howell, 2003b). Poor family
management, including poor parental
supervision (monitoring) and control of
children, has been shown to be a strong
predictor of gang membership (Hill et
al., 1999; Le Blanc and Lanctot, 1998;
Thornberry, 1998; Thornberry et al.,
2003). Among these risk factors, poor
family management may be the most
amenable to change, primarily through
parenting classes and, in some cases,
family counseling.
School Risk Factors
One of the strongest school-related
risk factors for gang membership is low
achievement in school, particularly at
the elementary level (Hill et al., 1999;
Le Blanc and Lanctot, 1998; Thornberry
et al., 2003). This in turn is related to
low academic aspirations, a low degree
of commitment to school, and teachers?
negative labeling of youth (Howell,
2003b). Early tutoring and appropriate
mentoring can address school achievement,
academic aspirations, and school
commitment. Many future gang members
also have problems with truancy (Lahey
et al., 1999). Another school-related risk
factor for gang membership is feeling
Copyright ? 1997?1999 Artville Stock Images
Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs
Volume IX| Number 1 25
unsafe at school (Gottfredson and Gottfredson,
2001). Increasing individuals?
feelings of safety at school may be more
difficult (Gottfredson and Gottfredson,
2001). Nevertheless, such programs
(e.g., Safe Schools/Healthy Students)
are essential for creating an environment
in which opportunities for educational
achievement can be enhanced.
Peer Group Risk Factors
Association with peers who engage in
delinquency is one of the strongest risk
factors for gang membership (Thornberry
et al., 2003). Association with aggressive
peers, whether or not they are involved
in delinquency during adolescence, also is
a strong predictor (Howell, 2003b). However,
limiting youth?s choice of peers can
be very difficult. A more feasible approach
would be to increase adult supervision of
youth since lack of adult supervision is
integrally related to the negative impact
of delinquent peers on a youth?s decision
to join a gang (Le Blanc and Lanctot,
1998; Thornberry, 1998).
Community Risk Factors
Longitudinal studies have identified the
availability of drugs, the presence of many
neighborhood youth who are in trouble,
youth?s feelings of being unsafe in the
neighborhood, low neighborhood attachment,
low levels of neighborhood integration,
area poverty, and neighborhood
disorganization (i.e., low informal social
control) as the strongest community risk
factors for gang membership (Howell,
2003b). Each of these risk factors, however,
is very difficult to modify. Another
important community risk factor?one
with greater potential to be changed?is
the presence of gangs in the neighborhood.
Gangs tend to cluster in high-crime,
socially disorganized neighborhoods. The
clustering of gangs in such high-crime
communities has a negative influence
and provides ample opportunity for recruitment
of at-risk youth into gangs.
Suppression, curfew enforcement, and
civil abatement activities such as public
nuisance ordinances may help reduce
this negative influence.
Program Design and
Management
The importance of strategic program planning
is too often overlooked in favor of
expediency. Sometimes it takes a tragic
act of violence before communities openly
recognize their youth gang problem. Determined
to respond quickly, community
leaders may launch into program activities
with only minimal attention paid
to program planning and development.
Efforts aimed at achieving rapid results,
however, often undercut the careful planning
required to optimize resources and
maximize effects on the complex social
problems related to youth gangs.
Copyright ? 2002 PhotoDisc, Inc.
Juvenile Justice
26
Kettner, Moroney, and Martin (1999)
describe what they call an effectivenessbased
approach to program planning
that includes problem analysis, developing
a program hypothesis, developing a
hierarchical set of goals and objectives,
and evaluation and performance measurement.
In general, problem analysis
seeks to determine the nature and distribution
of the problem, the characteristics
of those experiencing the problem,
how key terms are defined, and the causes
or origins of the problem. Note that the
first three of these items reflect in general
terms the key questions answered through
the National Youth Gang Center?s
(2002a) gang problem assessment protocol
(see page 21). The last item?determining
the causes or origins of the
problem?relates back to an examination
of local risk factors for violence and
gang membership.
The second element of the effectivenessbased
approach to program planning, the
program hypothesis, specifies cause-andeffect
relationships between risk factors
and describes consequences or problem
behaviors in an if/then format. The program
hypothesis clarifies the relationship
between problems to be addressed and
activities, links program activities to outcomes,
and provides a framework for ongoing
monitoring and evaluation. Based
on this information, a hierarchical set of
goals and objectives is developed to describe
how program activities relate to
overall goals and to an evidence-based
understanding of the nature of the local
gang problem. The National Youth Gang
Center (2002b) has developed parallel
guidance that provides more detail specific
to constructing implementation
A number of resources are available to help communities develop
and implement strategic risk-based responses to youth gangs.
Some of these resources are grouped according to topic below.
Overview of General Gang Issues
The American Street Gang (Klein, 1995)
Preventing and Reducing Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive
Framework (Howell, 2003a)
The Youth Gang Problem (Spergel, 1995)
Youth Gangs: An Overview (Howell, 1998)
?Youth Gangs: Prevention and Intervention? (Howell, 2003b)
Assessment of Local Gang Problems and Resources
Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide
(Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1998)
A Guide to Assessing Your Community?s Youth Gang Problem
(National Youth Gang Center, 2002a)
Information on Developing Program Designs
Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide
(Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1998)
Designing and Managing Programs: An Effectiveness-Based
Approach (Kettner, Moroney, and Martin, 1999)
Planning for Implementation (National Youth Gang Center, 2002b)
Guidance for Developing Program Monitoring or
Evaluation Plans
Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide
(Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1998)
Evaluation: A Systematic Approach (Rossi, Lipsey, and
Freeman, 2003)
Helpful Resources
Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs
Volume IX| Number 1 27
plans for comprehensive gang programs.
However, the basic elements of effective
program design remain the same.
Evaluation and performance measurement
are critical components of program planning.
Evaluation activities must begin
early to determine whether a program
was delivered as designed (process evaluation)
and whether it had the intended
effects (impact evaluation). An evaluation?s
level of complexity and scientific
rigor directly affect its cost and the technical
expertise necessary to conduct the
evaluation. However, even relatively
inexpensive program monitoring can be
very beneficial when carefully planned.
In any event, communities should make
some effort to measure both the process
and the impact of their programs. As previously
noted, a tracking system for gang
crime may be one critical communitylevel
indicator for evaluating impact for
many programs. Determining individuallevel
outcomes may require data collection
(e.g., through surveys, interviews,
individual police histories) before and
after program participation.
Putting It All Together
The most desirable program is comprehensive
and communitywide. Failing
that, programs should involve strategic
partnerships among diverse providers
serving the same high-risk population.
As stated earlier, these strategic riskbased
responses to youth gangs synthesize
general knowledge of youth gangs
with indepth knowledge of local gang
problems, risk factor research, and stateof-
the-art practices in program design.
Developing such a response may seem
too daunting a task to complete before
service delivery. However, costs associated
with program design can be spread across
partners and can be justified based on
improved resource targeting and program
feedback mechanisms. In addition, the
use of sound program documentation
and evaluation increases a community?s
ability to access outside funding.
There are no easy solutions to community
gang problems. However, with proper
program planning and development,
local policymakers and practitioners can
make informed decisions on the efficient
use of limited resources to respond to
youth gangs.
Notes
1. For more information about this assessment
protocol, please visit NYGC?s Web site at
www.iir.com/nygc/acgp/assessment.htm.
2. Note that this latter strategy could potentially
detract from data quality.
3. It is important to recognize that risk factor
research suggests probabilities for groups of
youth who display certain characteristics,
and thus are not predictions pertaining to
each individual in the group. Not all highrisk
youth join gangs.
4. The Rochester study, part of OJJDP?s Program
of Research on the Causes and Correlates
of Delinquency, examined seven risk
factor domains: area characteristics, family
sociodemographic characteristics, parentchild
relationships, school, peers, individual
characteristics, and early delinquency. Findings
from this study are discussed in ?The
Causes and Correlates Studies: Findings and
Policy Implications,? page 3.
5. These include failing a course at school,
being suspended or expelled from school,
breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend,
having a big fight or problem with a friend,
and the death of someone close (Thornberry
et al., 2003).
References
Battin, S.R., Hill, K.G., Abbott, R.D.,
Catalano, R.F., and Hawkins, J.D. 1998.
The contribution of gang membership to
delinquency beyond delinquent friends.
Criminology 36(1):93?115.
Juvenile Justice
28
Bureau of Justice Assistance. 1998. Addressing
Community Gang Problems: A Practical
Guide. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of
Justice Assistance.
Curry, G.D., and Decker, S.H. 2003. Confronting
Gangs: Crime and Community, 2d ed.
Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Co.
Decker, S.H., and Van Winkle, B. 1996. Life
in the Gang: Family, Friends, and Violence.
New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Egley, A. 2002. National Youth Gang Survey
Trends From 1996 to 2000. Fact Sheet. Washington,
DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Gottfredson, G.D., and Gottfredson, D.C.
2001. Gang Problems and Gang Programs in a
National Sample of Schools. Ellicott City, MD:
Gottfredson Associates.
Hill, K.G., Howell, J.C., Hawkins, J.D., and
Battin-Pearson, S.R. 1999. Childhood risk
factors for adolescent gang membership: Results
from the Seattle Social Development
Project. Journal of Research in Crime and
Delinquency 36(3):300?322.
Howell, J.C. 1998. Youth Gangs: An Overview.
Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Howell, J.C. 2000. Youth Gang Programs and
Strategies. Summary. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention.
Howell, J.C. 2003a. Preventing and Reducing
Juvenile Delinquency: A Comprehensive Framework.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Howell, J.C. 2003b. Youth gangs: Prevention
and intervention. In Intervention With Children
and Adolescents: An Interdisciplinary Perspective,
edited by P. Allen-Meares and M.W.
Fraser. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon,
pp. 493?514.
Howell, J.C., Egley, A., and Gleason, D.K.
2002. Modern-Day Youth Gangs. Bulletin.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Huff, C.R. 1998. Comparing the Criminal
Behavior of Youth Gangs and At-Risk Youth.
Research in Brief. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice
Programs, National Institute of Justice.
Huff, C.R. 2002. Gangs and public policy:
Prevention, intervention, and suppression.
In Gangs in America III, edited by C.R. Huff.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,
pp. 287?294.
Kettner, P.M., Moroney, R.M., and Martin,
L.L. 1999. Designing and Managing Programs:
An Effectiveness-Based Approach. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Klein, M.W. 1995. The American Street Gang.
New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Lahey, B.B., Gordon, R.A., Loeber, R.,
Stouthamer-Loeber, M., and Farrington, D.P.
1999. Boys who join gangs: A prospective
study of predictors of first gang entry. Journal
of Abnormal Child Psychology 27(4):261?276.
Le Blanc, M., and Lanctot, N. 1998. Social
and psychological characteristics of gang
members according to the gang structure
and its subcultural and ethnic makeup.
Journal of Gang Research 5(3):15?28.
Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs
Volume IX| Number 1 29
Lipsey, M.W., and Derzon, J.H. 1998. Predictors
of violent or serious delinquency in adolescence
and early adulthood: A synthesis of
longitudinal research. In Serious and Violent
Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful
Interventions, edited by R. Loeber and D.P.
Farrington. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Publications, pp. 86?105.
National Youth Gang Center. 2002a. A Guide
to Assessing Your Community?s Youth Gang
Problem. Washington, DC: U.S. Department
of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
[www.iir.com/nygc/acgp/assessment.htm]
National Youth Gang Center. 2002b. Planning
for Implementation. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention. [www.iir.com/nygc/acgp/
implementation.htm]
Rossi, P.H., Lipsey, M.W., and Freeman, H.E.
2003. Evaluation: A Systematic Approach, 6th
ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Spergel, I.A. 1995. The Youth Gang Problem.
New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Spergel, I.A., Grossman, S.F., Wa, K.M.,
Choi, S., and Jacob, A. 1999. Evaluation of
the Little Village Gang Violence Reduction Project:
The First Three Years. Chicago, IL: Illinois
Criminal Justice Information Authority.
Thornberry, T.P. 1998. Membership in youth
gangs and involvement in serious and violent
offending. In Serious and Violent Juvenile
Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful Interventions,
edited by R. Loeber and D.P.
Farrington. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Publications, pp. 147?166.
Thornberry, T.P., Krohn, M.D., Lizotte, A.J.,
Smith, C.A., and Tobin, K. 2003. Gangs and
Delinquency in Developmental Perspective.
New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Valdez, A. 2000. Gangs: A Guide to Understanding
Street Gangs, 3d ed. San Clemente,
CA: Law Tech Publishing.
Weisel, D.L. 2002. The evolution of street
gangs: An examination of form and variation.
In Responding to Gangs: Evaluation and Research,
edited by W.L. Reed and S.H. Decker.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice,
Office of Justice Programs, National Institute
of Justice, pp. 25?65.
A Community Approach to
Reducing Risk Factors
by Susan H. Chibnall and Kate Abbruzzese
By 2000, OJJDP?s Title V Community
Prevention Grants Program
provided incentive grants and
capacity-building tools to nearly
1,100 local delinquency prevention
programs nationwide. The risk and
protective factor approach to prevention
is the cornerstone of the
Community Prevention Grants Program
model. Communities that use
prevention efforts with a risk and
protective factor approach maximize
their chances of reducing juvenile
delinquency and related problems.
The experiences of the three Title
V communities presented below
substantiate this view.
Youth and Families with
Promise
In its local risk and resource assessments,
the Utah State University
Cooperative Extension Service
identified several local concerns
involving youth?specifically, academic
and behavioral problems in
school and the community and a
lack of parental support and involvement
in structured activities. Responding
to these concerns, the
Cooperative Extension Service used
a Title V grant to implement the
Youth and Families with Promise
(YFP) program in Carbon and
Weber Counties, UT.
YFP, a multigenerational mentoring
program, targets youth ages 10?14
who exhibit low self-confidence, act
out in school or the community, or
are experiencing academic difficulty.
Mentors tutor youth in reading and
academic skills and participate with
them in structured group settings, including
recreational and community
service activities. Youth, their parents,
and their mentors also attend
?Family Night Out,? a monthly event
designed to strengthen family bonds.
In 2000, a self-evaluation of the program
found that family relationships
improved and that youth demonstrated
greater respect for parents
and increased self-confidence. Youth
also demonstrated improved attitudes
toward school, completed more
homework, received better grades,
and engaged in less cheating, truancy,
violence, and visits to the principal?s
office. Among youth who had
been involved in problem behaviors
in the community, there were statistically
significant decreases in police
referrals and incidents of stealing,
damaging or destroying property,
alcohol consumption, gang activity,
and violence. In addition, parents
reported praising their children
more often, feeling less overwhelmed
and closer to them, and responding
more consistently to their behavior
problems.
Parent Project
Concerned with the number of
youth accused of destructive behaviors,
a number of citizens in
Minidoka County, ID, joined forces
to implement the Parent Project,
a research-based program created
for parents with difficult or out-ofcontrol
adolescents. Since the program?s
implementation in 1997,
nearly 1,000 families in Minidoka
County have attended Parent Project
classes.
To help curb poor school performance,
substance use, violence, and
similar behaviors, the program helps
parents learn and practice identification,
prevention, and intervention
strategies (e.g., establishing rules
and expectations, learning how to
discipline). During weekly sessions
for 10 to 16 weeks, facilitators provide
activity-based instruction and
IN BRIEF
JUSTICE MATTERS
30
Volume IX| Number 1 31
IN BRIEF
JUSTICE MATTERS
step-by-step plans to help parents
learn how to manage adolescent
behavior problems at home. Parents
also attend support groups where
they receive emotional and practical
support from facilitators and other
parents and practice implementing
newly acquired skills and techniques
(e.g., addressing problem behaviors,
managing conflict, building positive
self-concepts in their children).
The program also trains court and
school staff and other youth-involved
groups in parenting techniques and
offers a teen component that stresses
good decisionmaking skills and
resilience-based characteristics (e.g.,
community involvement, positive
relationships with adults). Using
a Title V grant, Minidoka County
expanded the project to include
an educator component for use in
schools; this component has helped
the project provide a more comprehensive
approach to identified risk
factors.
According to a program evaluation
study, the number of petitions filed
for juvenile offenses decreased 33
percent, the number of minors on
probation for any cause declined
more than 30 percent, the number
of drug-related probation violations
was down 20 percent, and the
number of days spent by youth in
detention decreased 24 percent.
In addition, the school dropout rate
fell from 17 percent to 0 percent,
and school expulsions plummeted
from 72 to 0. The Parent Project
was recognized for its achievements
by the Idaho Supreme Court in
1999 and is the state?s model for
programs involving the prevention
of juvenile crime.
Adopt-A-Class
After identifying several risk factors
present in the community?
including the availability of drugs
and alcohol, early onset of problem
behaviors, and family management
problems?community leaders in
Easton, PA, used a Title V grant to
implement a program appropriate
to its risk-factor profile: Adopt-AClass
(AAC).
AAC is a school-based program
designed to provide youth with
mentors with whom they can develop
a prosocial bond and who can
assist them with schoolwork and
family life issues. The program,
which was implemented in 1999,
is following a cohort of students
from fifth grade through their high
school graduation. Community
volunteers serving as mentors work
with students in school for one class
period per week. In these sessions,
students and mentors engage in activities
such as academic tutoring,
reading books, and playing games
together. In its first year, AAC
served approximately 450 students
per week with the support of 50
trained mentors.
In comparisons of students who
have been involved in the program
for 2 years with new students (those
involved less than 2 years), 26 percent
of the former group have reported
a more positive attitude
toward school. They also are almost
three times more likely to be involved
in community volunteer
projects than the newer students.
In addition, the Easton Area Middle
School improved attendance
by more than 1.3 percent in the
1999?2000 school year.
The Easton community also used
Title V funds to implement Educating
Children for Parenting, a program
that teaches caring and
compassionate behavior to young
children in the hopes that such lessons
will reduce their risk factors
for delinquency.
Conclusion
The findings from local communities
implementing Title V provide
encouraging evidence that a riskfocused
prevention model can help
communities facilitate positive
youth development and reduce risk
factors and problem behaviors. As
communities continue to evaluate
their prevention efforts and report
positive changes, it will become
easier to demonstrate that local
prevention and early intervention
efforts are making a difference in
the lives of the nation?s youth and
families.
32
IN BRIEF
Risk and Protective Factors
of Child Delinquency
This Child
Delinquency
Series Bulletin
(NCJ 193409)
focuses on four
types of risk and
protective factors:
individual,
family, peer, and
school and community. It is derived
from the chapters devoted to these
critical areas for prevention and intervention
in OJJDP?s Study Group
on Very Young Offenders? final
report, Child Delinquents: Development,
Intervention, and Service Needs.
The Study Group stresses that the
focus on risk factors that appear at a
young age is the key to preventing
child delinquency and its escalation
into chronic criminality. With early
intervention, young children will
be less likely to succumb to the
accumulating risks that arise later
in childhood and adolescence and
less likely to incur the negative
social and personal consequences
of several years of disruptive and
delinquent behaviors.
In addition to focusing on risk factors,
it is equally important to examine
protective factors that reduce
the risk of delinquency in order to
identify interventions that are likely
to work. The proportion of protective
factors to risk factors has a
significant influence on child delinquency,
and protective factors may
offset the influence of children?s
exposure to multiple risk factors.
Co-occurrence of Delinquency and
Other Problem Behaviors
Using data from the first 3 years of
OJJDP?s Program of Research on the
Causes and Correlates of Delinquency,
this Youth Development Series
Bulletin (NCJ 182211) examines
the co-occurrence of serious delinquency
with specific areas, namely,
school behavior, drug use, mental
health, and combinations of these
areas. Preliminary findings show
that a large proportion of serious
delinquents are not involved in
persistent drug use, nor do they have
persistent school or mental health
problems; the problem that cooccurs
most frequently with serious
delinquency is drug use; and, as the
number of problem behaviors other
than delinquency increases for
males, so does the likelihood that
they will become serious delinquents.
Many youth are only intermittently
involved in serious delinquency,
violence, or gang membership, and
involvement often lasts only a single
year during adolescence. Of greater
concern are youth whose involvement
in delinquency is more sustained
and, therefore, considered
more problematic and serious. Accordingly,
the study reported on in
this Bulletin focuses on persistent,
serious delinquency and persistent
school and mental health problems
lasting 2 years or more.
Unless otherwise noted, publications are available on OJJDP?s Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ojjdp. Some
may also be ordered by contacting the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse (see the inside back cover).
IN BRIEF
Volume IX| Number 1 33
Juvenile Delinquency and Serious
Injury Victimization
To explore the interrelationship between
delinquency and victimization,
this Youth Development Series
Bulletin (NCJ 188676) draws on
data from two of the longitudinal
studies in OJJDP?s Program of Research
on the Causes and Correlates
of Delinquency?the Denver Youth
Survey and the Pittsburgh Youth
Study. It focuses on victims of violence
who sustained serious injuries
as a result of the victimization.
The longitudinal, multisite approach
used by these studies makes it possible
to answer the following questions
concerning victimization involving
serious injury: (1) What is the prevalence
of victimization involving
serious injury in the general juvenile
population? (2) What are the proximal
and distal factors associated with
becoming a victim who sustains a
serious injury? (3) Which risk factors
or combinations of risk factors
best predict victimization involving
serious injury?
The studies found that many victims
were prone to engage in illegal activities,
associate with delinquent peers,
victimize other delinquents, and
avoid legal recourse in resolving
conflicts. A clearer understanding
of the patterns and predictors of victimization
offers the potential for increased
effectiveness in designing and
implementing strategies to reduce
both victimization and offending.
Child Delinquency: Early Intervention
and Prevention
This Bulletin (NCJ 186162), the
first in OJJDP?s Child Delinquency
Series, summarizes the final report
of the Study Group on Very Young
Offenders, Child Delinquents: Development,
Intervention, and Service
Needs. The report draws on hundreds
of studies to describe the
developmental course of child delinquency
and delineate key risk and
protective factors. It also identifies
effective and promising prevention
and intervention programs that help
reduce the incidence of delinquency
while offering significant cost savings
to society.
The Study Group concluded that
interventions that focus on preventing
child delinquency probably
have the greatest impact on crime.
These efforts should be directed
first at preventing persistent disruptive
behavior in children in
general; second, at preventing
child delinquency, particularly
among disruptive children; and
third, at preventing serious and
violent juvenile offending, particularly
among child delinquents.
The information presented in this
Bulletin will benefit future studies
and interventions that attempt to
prevent offending among the very
young and to change the behavior
of those children who are already
involved in offending.
34
IN BRIEF
Teenage Fatherhood and
Delinquent Behavior
This Bulletin (NCJ 178899) presents
findings from the Rochester
Youth Development Study and the
Pittsburgh Youth Study on risk factors
for teenage paternity, specifically,
the role of delinquency in early
fatherhood. Although previous
research has found associations
between teenage fatherhood and
delinquency, these studies provide a
clearer assessment of the significant
risk factors for teen fatherhood.
These risk factors come from a wide
range of domains, including race,
community characteristics, family
structure, parental stress, school,
early sexual activity, peers, individual
characteristics, and deviant
behaviors.
Both studies concluded that early
delinquency is a significant risk
factor for becoming a teen father.
In addition, the Rochester study
reported that the possibility of teen
paternity rises dramatically as risk
factors accumulate, and the Pittsburgh
study found that teen fatherhood
may be followed by greater
involvement in delinquency. The
consistency of agreement between
the Pittsburgh and Rochester studies
reinforces the conclusion that,
although there is no single explanation
or decisive risk factor for teen
fatherhood, early delinquency is
one of the most significant risk factors
for becoming a teen father.
Prevalence and Development of
Child Delinquency
According to the latest statistics,
children younger than 13 are involved
in almost 1 in 10 juvenile
arrests. This Bulletin (NCJ 193411),
part of OJJDP?s Child Delinquency
Series, provides information on very
young offenders (those between the
ages of 7 and 12) who become involved
with the juvenile justice
system.
These youth account for more than
one-third of juvenile arrests for
arson and nearly one-fifth of juvenile
arrests for sex offenses and
vandalism. Compared with juveniles
who become involved in
delinquency in adolescence, very
young delinquents are at greater risk
of becoming serious, violent, and
chronic offenders. They are also
more likely than older delinquents
to continue their delinquency for
extended periods of time. Consequently,
over their lifetimes, these
offenders may pose a disproportionate
threat to persons and property.
In addition, these offenders have
the potential to place significant
demands on the funds and resources
of educational, justice, and social
services agencies.
The information presented in this
Bulletin provides a basis for bringing
some of these issues into focus.
The long-term goal is to use this
information to foster effective interventions
that target very young
children before they accumulate
multiple offenses and develop a
pattern of chronic offending.
IN BRIEF
Volume IX| Number 1 35
Related Resources
Publications
The following publications can be printed and downloaded from the
OJJDP Web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ojjdp.
Causes and Correlates of Delinquency Program (Fact Sheet).
FS 99100.
Developmental Pathways in Boys? Disruptive and Delinquent Behavior
(Bulletin). NCJ 165692.
Family Disruption and Delinquency (Bulletin). NCJ 178285.
Prevalence and Development of Child Delinquency (Bulletin).
NCJ 193411.
Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Victimization
(Bulletin). NCJ 191210.
Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs for Child Delinquents
(Bulletin). NCJ 193410.
Videotapes
Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful
Interventions (Teleconference video, VHS format). NCJ 172860.
$15 (U.S.), $17 (Canada and other countries).
Child Delinquency: Early Intervention and Prevention (Teleconference
video, VHS format). NCJ 185594. $15 (U.S.), $17 (Canada
and other countries).
Treatment, Services, and Intervention
Programs for Child Delinquents
Research indicates that very young
offenders (younger than age 13) are
at an age when interventions are
most likely to succeed in diverting
them from chronic delinquency.
Drawing on findings from OJJDP?s
Study Group on Very Young Offenders,
this Bulletin (NCJ 193410)
explores various treatments, services,
and intervention programs
designed to mitigate the disruptive
behavior of child delinquents.
The Bulletin, part of OJJDP?s Child
Delinquency Series, examines the
efficacy and cost effectiveness of
particular interventions. In addition,
the authors discuss juvenile
justice system programs and strategies
for very young offenders. Four
promising interventions for child
delinquents?the Michigan Early
Offender Program, the Minnesota
Delinquents Under 10 Program,
the Sacramento County Community
Intervention Program, and
the Toronto Under 12 Outreach
Project?are reviewed. In addition,
the Bulletin outlines a model for
comprehensive interventions and
examines the Canadian approach
to child delinquency, which may
serve as a guide for prevention
efforts in the United States and
Europe.
Timely provision of effective treatment,
services, and intervention
programs while child delinquents
are still young and impressionable
may prevent their progression to
chronic criminality and save the
expense of later interventions.

OJJDP produces a wide variety of materials,
including Bulletins, Newsletters, Fact
Sheets, Reports, Summaries, videotapes,
and the Juvenile Justice journal?all available
from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
via the Internet. View and download
materials at OJJDP?s Web site
(www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ojjdp). Order materials
at puborder.ncjrs.org. Ask questions about
materials at askjj.ncjrs.org. Publications may
also be ordered by phone (800?851?3420).
To receive notification of new publications?
and current information on developments
in the field and at OJJDP?subscribe to
OJJDP?s free electronic services:
The JUVJUST listserv e-mails announcements
from OJJDP and the field about
new publications, funding opportunities,
and upcoming conferences.
OJJDP News @ a Glance, a bimonthly
newsletter, covers many of the same
topics as JUVJUST?plus recent OJJDP
activities?in greater depth.
Subscribe to JUVJUST and News @ a
Glance online at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ojjdp.
Corrections and Detention
Assessing the Mental Health Status of Youth in
Juvenile Justice Settings. 2004, NCJ 202713
(8 pp.).
Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2000:
Selected Findings. 2002, NCJ 196595 (4 pp.).
Juveniles in Corrections. 2004, NCJ 202885
(24 pp.).
Courts
Juvenile Drug Court Programs. 2001,
NCJ 184744 (16 pp.).
Juvenile Gun Courts: Promoting Accountability
and Providing Treatment. 2002, NCJ 187078
(12 pp.).
Juveniles in Court. 2003, NCJ 195420 (32 pp.).
Delinquency Prevention
2002 Report to Congress: Title V Community
Prevention Grants Program. 2004, NCJ 202019
(48 pp.).
Blueprints for Violence Prevention (available
online only). 2004, NCJ 204274 (180 pp.).
Child Delinquency: Early Intervention and
Prevention. 2003, NCJ 186162 (20 pp.).
Prevalence and Development of Child
Delinquency. 2003, NCJ 193411 (8 pp.).
Risk and Protective Factors of Child
Delinquency. 2003, NCJ 193409 (16 pp.).
Successful Program Implementation: Lessons
From Blueprints. 2004, NCJ 204273 (12 pp.).
Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs
for Child Delinquents. 2003, NCJ 193410
(16 pp.).
Truancy Reduction: Keeping Students in
School. 2001, NCJ 188947 (16 pp.).
Gangs
Hybrid and Other Modern Gangs. 2001,
NCJ 189916 (8 pp.).
Modern-Day Youth Gangs. 2002, NCJ 191524
(12 pp.).
Youth Gangs in Indian Country. 2004,
NCJ 202714 (16 pp.).
General Juvenile Justice
Access to Counsel (available online only). 2004,
NCJ 204063 (34 pp.).
Aftercare Services (available online only). 2003,
NCJ 201800 (31 pp.).
Best Practices in Juvenile Accountability:
Overview. 2003, NCJ 184745 (12 pp.).
Changes to OJJDP?s Juvenile Accountability
Program. 2003, NCJ 200220 (6 pp.).
Juvenile Justice (Causes and Correlates Issue),
Volume IX, Number 1. 2004, NCJ 203555
(40 pp.).
Latest Resources From OJJDP. 2003,
BC 000115 (56 pp.).
OJJDP?s Tribal Youth Initiatives. 2003,
NCJ 193763 (8 pp.).
Race as a Factor in Juvenile Arrests. 2003,
NCJ 189180 (8 pp.).
Missing and Exploited Children
Children Abducted by Family Members:
National Estimates and Characteristics. 2002,
NCJ 196466 (12 pp.).
Explanations for the Decline in Child Sexual
Abuse Cases. 2004, NCJ 199298 (12 pp.).
A Family Resource Guide on International
Parental Kidnapping. 2002, NCJ 190448
(139 pp.). Also available in Spanish. 2002,
NCJ 199832.
Issues in Resolving Cases of International
Child Abduction by Parents. 2001, NCJ 190105
(20 pp.).
A Law Enforcement Guide on International
Parental Kidnapping. 2002, NCJ 194639
(116 pp.).
National Estimates of Missing Children:
An Overview. 2002, NCJ 196465 (12 pp.).
Nonfamily Abducted Children: National Estimates
and Characteristics. 2002, NCJ 196467
(16 pp.).
Revised 08/09/2004
Overview of the Portable Guides to Investigating
Child Abuse: Update 2000. 2000,
NCJ 178893 (12 pp.).
Prostitution of Juveniles: Patterns From NIBRS.
2004, NCJ 203946 (12 pp.).
Runaway/Thrownaway Children: National Estimates
and Characteristics. 2002, NCJ 196469
(12 pp.).
When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival
Guide. 2004 Update, NCJ 204958 (108 pp.).
Also available in Spanish. 2002, NCJ 178902.
Substance Abuse
Detection and Prevalence of Substance Use
Among Juvenile Detainees. 2004, NCJ 203934
(16 pp.).
Violence and Victimization
Addressing Youth Victimization. 2001,
NCJ 186667 (20 pp.).
Animal Abuse and Youth Violence. 2001,
NCJ 188677 (16 pp.).
Community Correlates of Rural Youth Violence.
2003, NCJ 193591 (12 pp.).
Crimes Against Children by Babysitters. 2001,
NCJ 189102 (8 pp.).
Gun Use by Male Juveniles: Research and
Prevention. 2001, NCJ 188992 (12 pp.).
Homicides of Children and Youth. 2001,
NCJ 187239 (12 pp.).
How Families and Communities Influence Youth
Victimization. 2003, NCJ 201629 (12 pp.).
Juvenile Delinquency and Serious Injury Victimization.
2001, NCJ 188676 (8 pp.).
Juvenile Justice (School Violence Issue), Volume
VIII, Number 1. 2001, NCJ 188158 (40 pp.).
Juvenile Suicides, 1981?1998. 2004,
NCJ 196978 (8 pp.).
Offenders Incarcerated for Crimes Against
Juveniles. 2001, NCJ 191028 (12 pp.).
Protecting Children in Cyberspace: The ICAC
Task Force Program. 2002, NCJ 191213 (8 pp.).
Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent
Victimization. 2002, NCJ 191210 (16 pp.).
Trends in Juvenile Violent Offending: An Analysis
of Victim Survey Data. 2002, NCJ 191052
(20 pp.).
Victims of Violent Juvenile Crime. 2004,
NCJ 201628 (8 pp.).
Violent Victimization as a Risk Factor for Violent
Offending Among Juveniles. 2002, NCJ 195737
(12 pp.).
Publications From OJJDP
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
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