Recommendation: Federal and state funding should be provided to replicate successful research-based, community-based treatment programs for all types of offenders with continuing evaluations to ensure their safety and efficacy under the specific circumstances of their application.
Overrepresentation of blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians in the juvenile justice system requires immediate attention. The existence of disproportional racial representation in the juvenile justice system raises concerns about differential exposure to risks and the fairness and equal treatment of youth by the police, courts, and other players in the juvenile justice system. Given the importance of the problem of race, crime, and juvenile justice in the United States, the scant research attention that has been paid to understanding the factors contributing to racial disparities in the juvenile justice system is shocking.
Recommendation: The panel recommends that a comprehensive, systematic, and long-term agenda for acquiring empirical knowledge to understand and meaningfully reduce problems of unwarranted racial disparity in the juvenile justice system is a critical priority and that new funding should be set aside for this effort.
Although evaluation research has resulted in some information about what types of programs may be effective in preventing delinquency, much remains to be known. At what age is it best to intervene? Is there an ideal length of program delivery? Are some programs more effective for certain types of children or families or at certain ages? Which programs are counterproductive? Some relatively well-evaluated programs, such as D.A.R.E. and shock incarceration programs, have been shown to have little impact on the targeted behavior and even to have counterproductive impacts among some populations. Until aspects of programs are systematically varied and well evaluated, these questions will remain.
Recommendation: All publicly supported intervention programs should be evaluated for both safety and efficacy using scientifically credible methods for doing so. Adequate funding for such evaluations should be included in the public support of intervention programs. Funding for programs whose effectiveness is shown to be limited should be discontinued.
Delinquency is associated with poor school performance, truancy, and leaving school at a young age. Some pedagogical practices may