Juvenile Justice Reform

NLC supports and informs city leaders and stakeholders in improving public safety and reforming the juvenile justice system to encourage the use of evidence-based practices and ensure the fair treatment of all youth.

Circle of family

By identifying proven local practices and translating those into concrete steps cities can take, we work to empower cities to take a more comprehensive role in the national movement to improve the juvenile justice system.

Getting Started  
City leaders and juvenile justice reformers alike want to create juvenile justice systems that are evidence-based, fair and more effectively hold youth accountable and help them become successful, productive adults.  Below are some concrete areas of overlap between the principles of Models of Change and the progress local leaders have already made toward a better juvenile justice system.

Law Enforcement Tools
Local law enforcement is usually the first point of contact between a city's young people and the juvenile justice system. City leaders can increase public safety and improve outcomes for young residents by helping police develop objective decision-making tools to divert youth from the system in lieu of arrest for low-level offenses.

Continuum of Community Based Alternatives
When treated as more serious criminals, young people who come to the attention of law enforcement for low-level offenses are less likely to regain their footing. Fair and effective responses to young people in the juvenile justice system reduce future crime and improve outcomes for young residents, therefore benefitting the city as a whole.