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Best Practices in Juvenile Accountability: Overview

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2003
12 pages
This bulletin traces the history of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants (JAIBG) program, reviews the developmental perspective that shapes juvenile accountability, and presents case histories that illustrate effective practices that promote accountability.
The basic premise of the JAIBG program, initially funded in fiscal year 1998, is that youth who violate the law should be held accountable for their offenses. This means that once a juvenile is determined to have committed a law violation, he/she is held responsible for the violation by means of structured consequences or sanctions that are proportionate to the severity of the harm caused to victims and the community. Under the developmental perspective of the JAIBG program, holding juvenile offenders accountable for their harmful actions involves combining what is known about adolescent development, public safety, and the effects of victimization into a process that helps the juveniles acquire empathy for those affected by their actions and make changes that will prevent recidivism. The case studies presented in this bulletin illustrate the concepts of accountability in practice. One of the most widely practiced forms of accountability-based sanctions is the Balanced and Restorative Justice approach. This approach views accountability as bringing the juvenile to an understanding of the impact of his/her behavior on the victim and taking action to repair the harms he/she has caused. Thus, JAIBG funds make it possible for schools, diversion programs, probation agencies, group homes, and juvenile facilities to establish a context within which youth become accountable by facing their victims through mechanisms such as victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, and neighborhood reparative boards. The JAIBG has specified 12 program purpose areas, and these are briefly described in this bulletin, along with JAIBG authorization, State eligibility, distribution to units of local government, and juvenile crime enforcement coalitions. The bulletin concludes with a presentation of highlights from the JAIBG Best Practices Bulletins; each bulletin addresses one or more of the JAIBG program purpose areas. 9 notes and 31 references

Date Published: April 1, 2003