In 1974, Congress established the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as part of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. It is considered part of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Its mission is as follows:
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families.
OJJDP is charged with improving juvenile justice policies and practices, conducting research, and providing funding for research and programs addressing topics relevant to juvenile crime and violence, responses to them, and prevention programs. Specific areas of focus include, but are not limited to, gang reduction and prevention, Internet crimes, girls’ delinquency, child abduction, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and underage drinking.
The OJJDP website includes annual reports from each fiscal year, which detail the office’s activities and expenditures. Currently available are reports for the years 1996-2008. Additionally, the website offers a wealth of information through a topically organized list and its searchable database. Information available includes reports, programs, funding, events, and other resources. Current publications include the following:
- Causes and Correlates of Girls’ Delinquency
- Highlights of the 2008 National Youth Gang Survey
- Youth’s Needs and Services: Findings from the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement
- Introduction to the Survey ofYouth in Residential Placement
- Girls’ Delinquency in Focus Fact Sheet
- Juveniles in Residential Placement: 1997–2008
The statistics link provides links to bulletins on juvenile arrests, juvenile sex crimes against minors, and a comprehensive survey of children’s exposure to violence. Interested persons can review demographic data about juvenile offenders and victims, the juvenile justice system (at all phases), and juveniles in corrections. The events link provides information about training and conferences occurring throughout the United States.
OJJDP also offers training and technical assistance for those involved in responding to juvenile violence or in prevention programs. Training and technical assistance might include conducting needs assessments, strategic planning, team building and collaboration, staff development, and program evaluation. The site also features a model program guide.
Under the subtopic of schools, the OJJDP site provides information about bullying, dropout and expulsion, school involvement, school safety, and truancy.
OJJDP is a clearinghouse of information for anyone interested in or involved in juvenile justice. The agency lists the following milestones in its history:
- Act signed into law
- Created the Formula Grants program
- Established the separation requirement
- Established the deinstitutionalization of status offenders (DSO) requirement 1977
- Increased and expanded DSO and separation requirements
- Emphasized prevention and treatment
- Established jail removal requirements
- Enhanced and amended jail removal requirements
- Addressed disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) as a requirement
- Amended the DSO, jail removal, and separation requirements
- Elevated DMC to a core requirement
- Established the Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Grants Program (Title V)
- Established new programs to address gender bias
- Emphasized prevention and treatment, family strengthening, graduated sanctions, and risk-need assessments
- Broadened the scope of the DMC core requirement from “disproportionate minority confinement” to “disproportionate minority contact”
- Consolidated seven previously independent programs into a single Part C prevention block grant
- Created a new Part D, authorizing research, training and technical assistance, and information dissemination
- Added Part E, authorizing grants for new initiatives and programs
- Reauthorized Title V
- Required states to give funding priorities of their formula and block grant allocations to evidence-based programs
- Reauthorized the Title II Formula Grants Program
- Revised the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants program, which is now called the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program (as part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act)
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: http://www.ojjdp.gov/