Youth Violence Summit Recommendations

Strengthen the Family

  • Provide increased services for dysfunctional families and damaged children.

  • Increase intervention in domestic violence situations by all relevant agencies.

  • Promote the family as the true "home" for good direction, support, teaching of values, and advice to children.

  • Create more child advocacy centers where youth can go for support and advice.

  • Encourage and support programs, including parenting classes and sex education to prevent teen pregnancy.

  • Explore, investigate, and evaluate the efficacy of parental responsibility and accountability policies and laws.

  • Provide more support for parents who lack basic parenting and family management skills.

Clarify the Role of the Community

  • Establish local delinquency prevention councils to foster community involvement in prevention.

  • Build community teams including churches, schools, community-based programs and law enforcement to fight violence in a coordinated manner.

  • Create adult mentor programs in neighborhood centers, schools, juvenile detention and correctional centers.

  • Increase the involvement of youth in the discussion and development of solutions/policies regarding youth-related issues.

Position Law Enforcement as a Catalyst for Change

  • Promote the aggressive investigation of all violent crimes and the arrest and detention of violent youthful offenders.

  • Increase the number of sworn, trained and equipped community policing officers.

  • Create a resource manual for law enforcement agencies that clarifies existing community/government programs to support community policing.

  • Reprioritize police resources, increasing the numbers of youth service, school resource, DARE, and GREAT officers available.

  • Increase the level of federal support and technology for small/rural police departments to support youth violence reduction.

  • Improve police department/school relationships to be more effective, expanding the SRO role to provide non-traditional in-school services.

  • Conduct research to identify and evaluate those police programs for youth that are effective.

  • Revise training curriculum of police officers on how to approach potentially violent confrontations with youth.

  • Increase the availability of technology support to local police PCS, laptops, crime analysis software, gun tracing centers, to anticipate and interdict violence.

  • Improve/expand the training for school resource and youth officers to reflect current needs and to utilize anger/violence reduction techniques.

  • Recognize and reward non-traditional police performance to balance officer perception of the importance of these activities.

  • Call for a universal increase/expansion of community policing efforts to increase interaction between community-based youth programs and the police.

Strengthen the School Environment

  • Identify effective programs to keep troubled/trouble-making students out of classrooms and in alternative programs.

  • Utilize school facilities, where available, as centers for community activity after school, during evening hours and throughout summer months.

  • Put standards in place to promote a safe, disciplined learning environment, for example uniforms, dress codes, zero tolerance for drugs, alcohol, weapons.

  • Keep as many schools as possible open after hours safe havens for students, with expanded versus reduced extracurricular activities.

  • Bring law enforcement officers into schools in leadership roles, using a team approach between police and teachers.

  • Create a tone of zero tolerance for juvenile crime of all types on school campuses with swift punishment and effective alternative sanctions in place.

  • Create greater resources for alternative education programs for high-risk children with emotional/behavioral problems.

  • Promote stronger financial/programmatic commitment to public schools to insure equitable resources to all types of communities.

  • Integrate violence reduction strategies and training into existing course materials in schools.

  • Reform and redesign teacher educational curriculums to respond to real current needs.

Treat Youth Violence as a Health Issue

  • Create a national awareness campaign treating youth violence as a public health crisis/disease.

  • Ensure that medical personnel in emergency rooms provide services beyond triage to youths evidencing injuries from weapons or other violent confrontations.

  • Develop mandatory public health programs in schools and that treat youth violence as an "epidemic."

Improve the Justice System's Ability to Respond

  • Expand the use of juvenile assessment centers where teams of professionals assess a child's needs and make recommendations prior to/or after adjudication.

  • Develop a "swift and sure" justice model for all criminal acts, with immediate and graduated sanctions that are local and community based.

  • Put in place a new system for determining juvenile v. criminal court jurisdiction that is rational and based on the principals of individualized justice.

  • Enact laws that give juvenile courts jurisdiction over parents and hold them liable for criminal acts of children.

  • Create an omnibus correctional program within the juvenile justice system that insures both secure removal from society and educational/rehab opportunity.

  • Develop deterrent programs for first time offenders, that include punishment, restorative justice for victims, use of teen courts and peer panels.

  • Train local agencies to establish better criteria/methods to identify habitual offenders, making more effective use of SHOCAP.

  • Ensure a consistent, continuum, approach to violent youth with incarceration for the most violent offenders.

  • Take strong countermeasures to deglamorize gang lifestyle, using RICO statutes, safe street task forces, to indict gang members and reduce gang activity.

  • Expand victim/offender interaction in the juvenile justice system to promote healing of victims and full accountability for offenders.

Create Stronger Multi-Agency Partnerships

  • Create model programs to demonstrate how criminal,juvenile, and family court systems can share information to interdict future violence.

  • Expand alliances among social service, education, mental health, public health, child welfare, juvenile justice and law enforcement agencies.

  • Increase the collaboration and cooperation among federal agencies like Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services.

  • Design multi-agency teams where clear policies are in place, resources are shared, participation is monitored, all are accountable, and each partner makes equitable contributions of staff/monetary resources.

Educate the Public on Youth Violence

  • Encourage local and national media to provide balanced coverage of youth issues by including positive youth activities and successful programs.

  • Demand that the media (network/cable TV, movie industry, music industry) be accountable for its programming, balancing its representation of violence.

  • Make use of total cost data to dramatize the true economic consequences of youth violence, with an emphasis on the quality of life lost.

  • Educate citizens on the reality of gun injuries (accidental injury, death) to refute the perceived "safety" of owning/carrying guns for self protection.

Expand/Evaluate Programs that Work

  • Disseminate information about programs that work to local officials who can replicate these programs.

  • Provide more information and technical assistance to all local agencies on successful youth violence programs through the Office of Justice Programs, particularly OJJDP.

  • Provide additional funding support to proven programs, like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Police Athletic Leagues, plus newer/innovative programs.

  • Create more summer jobs for youth through public/private partnerships involving recreation departments, schools and youth employment programs.

  • Encourage implementation of locally driven youth violence prevention strategies that include goal setting, reinforcing positive lifestyles, and extensive mentoring opportunities.

  • Ensure the commitment of federal, state and local resources to help replicate and expand solid grass-roots violence-reduction efforts.

  • Provide aggressive evaluation and measurement of current programs, retooling/revamping ineffective responses to better fit community/youth needs.

Improve Information Sharing Among Programs

  • Establish solid information sharing systems among police, justice, and school officials engaged in multiple community-based youth programs.

  • Create, and make available where appropriate, juvenile CHRI to aid law enforcement and justice personnel respond effectively to youthful offenders.

  • Eliminate as many barriers as possible to promote information sharing among law enforcement, public health, social service, education, treatment and community-based programs.

  • Introduce, if necessary, legislation to mandate the sharing of information on juvenile offenders by police, courts, schools, and program agencies.