In the late 1980's and early 1990's, the United States witnessed an alarming rise in juvenile crime and delinquency. Between 1987 and 1994, arrests of juveniles for violent crimes increased 70 percent (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1997). In 1993, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) published its Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders to provide communities with a strategic yet practical response to juvenile delinquency and to help prevent juveniles from becoming serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders (Wilson and Howell, 1993). The Comprehensive Strategy provides a research-based framework of strategic responsesfrom early prevention to a range of appropriate and graduated sanctionsto support States and local jurisdictions in their efforts to reduce juvenile crime and delinquency. After developing and testing both the prevention and graduated sanctions components of the Comprehensive Strategy, OJJDP launched a national training and technical assistance initiative in 1995 with the publication of its Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders (the Guide) (Howell, 1995).
In 1996, three communitiesLee and Duval Counties, FL, and San Diego County, CAcollaborated with OJJDP to apply the processes and principles set forth in the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. This Bulletin describes the experiences of and lessons learned by these Comprehensive Strategy pilot sites. Through their commitment to improving juvenile services and the lives of youth and their families, these three communities have made substantial progress toward planning and implementing targeted and cost-effective ways to promote healthy youth development and arrest the development of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offending. They also have demonstrated how a comprehensive strategic approach to preventing and reducing juvenile crime and delinquency can be planned and implemented. The sections that follow provide an overview of the Comprehensive Strategy and describe the Comprehensive Strategy planning processes and key lessons learned by each pilot site.