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Principles of Effective Juvenile Justice Policy

National Conference of State Legislatures


The NCSL Juvenile Justice Principles Work Group project was developed under an NCSL partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts public safety performance project. The workgroup project responds to the challenge lawmakers face of constructing juvenile justice systems that are both fiscally responsible and improve outcomes on many important fronts: protecting and enhancing public safety, holding youth accountable, helping youth develop the skills they need to succeed, preserving and strengthening families, and promoting fairness. After developing the principles, the work group explained and illustrated them with examples of key issues and approaches. The issues addressed in these Principles reflect the important role of state legislatures in enacting policies that avoid unnecessary involvement of youth in the justice system and support evidence-based interventions that reduce recidivism and protect public safety. Many concepts addressed in the principles emerged from research on effective approaches in addressing juvenile delinquency to achieve better outcomes for youth and communities. Mindful that juvenile justice policies impact various levels and branches of government and the communities they serve, the principles also reflect the value lawmakers place on involving stakeholders in policy development and the importance of interbranch and intergovernmental collaboration, information exchange, transparency and evaluation. The work of this group, and the report produced, capture fundamental principles for juvenile justice policy. It is the intent of NCSL and this work group that the principles and examples presented here will help guide and inform many aspects of juvenile justice policy now and well into the future.


North America

Year Language

2018 English

Category Type

Grey Literature Report


Judiciary, Justice, Juvenile, Law, Legislation


Pdf file

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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