clear Introduction

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), through its Research and Program Development Division (the Research Division), supports and promotes science-based research, rigorous and informative evaluations of demonstration programs, and meaningful collection and analysis of statistics. The Research Divisionís overall mission is to generate credible and useful information to improve decisionmaking in the juvenile justice system and thereby prevent and reduce juvenile delinquency and victimization. To achieve this goal, OJJDP translates research into action.

This Report summarizes the activities and achievements of OJJDPís Research Division from August 1999 to the present in three areas:

  • Research. The Research Division sponsors empirical studies on an array of topics related to juveniles and delinquency, from the roots of violence to the impact of victimization. Studies range from exploratory and descriptive to rigorously analytical.

  • Evaluation. One of the Research Divisionís important functions is to identify what works. Its evaluations measure the impact of programs geared to preventing or reducing the incidence of juvenile delinquency and victimization. Many OJJDP-sponsored projects are community-based initiatives with multiple components. This type of project presents special challenges to the Research Division when measuring the impact of interventions and specific programs.

  • Statistics. The Research Division sponsors the Nationís primary efforts to gather data and statistics on juveniles and crime, including information on juvenile detention and corrections populations, probation caseloads, and court activities. OJJDPís Research Division also has taken the lead in making such statistical data accessible to the field.

Solutions to juvenile crime and delinquency must be based on what has been learned about effective programming. OJJDP strategically sponsors research that has the greatest potential to improve the Nationís understanding of juvenile delinquency and victimization and of ways to develop effective prevention and intervention programs. The Research Division collaborates with a number of Federal agencies to carry out research and evaluation efforts, the findings of which are useful to an interdisciplinary audience. The work produced through OJJDP research, evaluation, and statistics programs is used by:

  • Researchers in the field.

  • Practitioners on the front lines.

  • Policymakers at the Federal, State, and local levels.

In addition, the Research Division works with other OJJDP divisions to use research to enhance training efforts, improve program activities, inform the public, craft effective interventions, and formulate policies that will have a positive impact on individuals, families, and communities.

Programs that promote protective factors and help reduce the risk factors that lead to juvenile crime are among the best investments a community can make to lower its rate of delinquency. Evaluation and testing must be used to identify the programs that are effective in keeping juveniles from being arrested and entering the juvenile justice system in the first place. At the same time, communities need to identify corrections treatment and aftercare programs that will effectively reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Collaboration With Other Federal Agencies

OJJDP collaborates with other Federal Government agencies to cofund and oversee research related to juveniles. Such collaboration enables OJJDP to use its funds more efficiently and ensure that its efforts do not duplicate those of other agencies. OJJDP is much sought after as a partner by other agencies. The Research Division currently works with the Office of National Drug Control Policy; the U.S. Departments of Commerce (Bureau of the Census), Education, Health and Human Services (Administration for Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and National Institute on Drug Abuse), and Labor; the Federal Trade Commission; and other U.S. Department of Justice offices, including the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, the National Institute of Justice, the Office for Victims of Crime, the Office of Community Oriented Policing, and the Violence Against Women Office.

The Research Division is committed to maximizing the impact of OJJDP research by disseminating its findings to practitioners and policymakers who work with juveniles and juvenile offenders. Space constraints make it impossible to cover fully in this document the number and scope of projects undertaken by the Research Division every year. Instead, this Report offers a current overview of the Divisionís diverse work, with particular focus on important new findings and emerging research areas. The Report includes the following chapters:

  • New Findings. This chapter describes important OJJDP research projects, including the Study Group on Very Young Offenders, the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency, and research on juvenile transfers to criminal court.

  • New and Emerging Research Efforts. This chapter highlights new and emerging research efforts being launched by OJJDP, including research programs that examine female delinquency, tribal youth, and mental health issues and a study that examines the "whys" behind juvenile crime trends.

  • Highlights. This chapter presents information on some key OJJDP research activities, including research on child victimization, school violence, and substance abuse initiatives.

In addition, three appendixes list active research projects, research-related publications and products, and research-related online resources.


OJJDP Research 2000 OJJDP Report
May 2001