Youth Violence in the District of Columbia

ILJ’s experience in juvenile justice includes a major study of the incidence of violence committed by and against youth in the District of Columbia. The study examines characteristics of juveniles and violent incidents, including access to firearms and patterns of behavior of juveniles who are at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence. The project also involves developing a strategic violence reduction plan in collaboration with community residents, agency representatives, and city leaders.

The study includes interviews with 250 youth residing in high crime areas, focus groups with community leaders, and a review of court and other agency programs. The role of court, other agencies, and youth serving organizations are emphasized as effective interventions against violence. Analysis is being conducted on youth appearing in juvenile or criminal court during 1994 and 1995, to track all contacts made within the justice system. The analysis will also be used to distinguish between delinquent and non-delinquent youth from the high crime areas under study.