Reno Launches Plan to Fight Youth Crime: Communities Will Get Federal Help

Article excerpt

Attorney General Janet Reno, concerned about what she says is a "cycle of violence" that is killing or incarcerating America's children, has put together a nationwide program to help federal, state and local authorities reduce youth violence and prevent delinquency.

The National Juvenile Justice Plan, informally known as the action plan, is an eight-point statement of objectives and strategies designed to strengthen state and local initiatives in an effort - with federal help - to reduce juvenile violence and to increase the ability of the juvenile justice system to respond to it.

"More and more of our nation's children are killing and dying," said Miss Reno, a former state prosecutor in Dade County, Fla., and the first woman to head the Justice Department. "The only way we can break the cycle of violence is through a truly national effort implemented one community at a time.

"Everyone has a role: businesses, schools, universities and especially parents. Every community and every citizen can find practical steps in the action plan to do something now about youth violence."

The eight objectives in the plan, part of an effort by the Justice Department to address growing juvenile violence, are:

* To provide immediate intervention, appropriate sanctions and treatment for delinquent juveniles. This would include community restitution and day treatment centers for first-time offenders; sanctions and intensive supervision for many first-time and serious offenders; and secure confinement for offenders categorized as violent.

* To prosecute certain serious, violent and chronic juvenile offenders in criminal court. The purpose would be to protect the public and to separate violent juvenile offenders from those who might benefit from treatment and rehabilitation.

* To reduce youth involvement with guns, drugs and gangs. This would include enhanced law enforcement capabilities, interagency gun and drug interdiction strategies, and the targeting of youth gangs.

* To provide opportunities to children. The plan would support mentoring opportunities, school safety programs and family-based community centers.

* To break the cycle of violence by addressing youth victimization, abuse and neglect. …