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Juvenile Delinquency

            Youth violence in our country has risen dramatically in the past decade. The number of violent arrests of youth under the age 18 has increased dramatically: 36 percent between 1989 and 1993, more than 4 times the increased reported for adults. During that period, juvenile arrests for homicide increased by 45 percent, while adult homicide arrests increased by only 6 percent (FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, 1994). Among teenagers 15 to 19 years old, the escalation of gun violence is particularly alarming: one of every four deaths of a teenager is attributable to a firearm injury. The number of juvenile violent crime arrests will double by the year 2010 if current arrest and population trends continue. Can our communities bear another 260,000 such arrests each year? What are the causes of this epidemic of violence? And how can we solve it? As the chief Federal agency dealing with the administration of justice for both adults and children, Department of Justice (DOJ), through its enforcement programs, U.S. Attorneys, and the office of Justice Programs and its five program bureaus, has developed an extraordinary network of programs and services to help States and local communities throughout the Nation prevent delinquency and deal with juvenile offenders in the most constructive ways possible. Through both research and practical experience in the field, DOJ programs help to identify effective strategies and approaches for working with juveniles who are at risk of delinquency or who are in the juvenile justice system. Law enforcement efforts and court interventions are essentials to our ability to respond swiftly and appropriately to teens who commit serious, violent crimes. But so is work in the area of prevention. There are prevention programs that work to keep those not currently involved in the juvenile justice system out of the criminal justice system. They are on solid research and sound principals.

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