Fighting Delinquency with Three M's: Monitoring, Mentoring, Ministering

The goal of this project conducted by Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia, Pa., was to produce a report for RWJF on youth crime, delinquency, and substance abuse that could be used to inform and guide RWJF's program development in the area of criminal justice and substance abuse.

The report provides information about which youth are most likely to commit juvenile crimes and why, identifies programs that have successfully reduced youth criminal activity, and briefly discusses the activities of foundations in the area of juvenile crime prevention.

Key Findings

Among the findings of the report:

  • A concerted and focused effort to put responsible adults in the lives of at-risk children is the country's best strategy for stopping and reducing juvenile crime and delinquency in this generation, and the generations that follow.
  • The problems of juvenile offenders are getting worse—the crimes are getting more violent and criminal justice officials stress the increasingly abused and neglected character of the youth offenders they are handling.
  • The cliché that serious youth crime is a "society-wide problem" is unsupported.
  • There is growing evidence of a substantial overlap between the highly concentrated populations of young crime victims and the highly concentrated populations of young offenders.
  • Although the cause-and-effect relationship between drugs and crime is not clear, most experts agree that there is a connection.
  • The one—and, in the view of some experts, the only—substance abuse treatment variable that has consistently been associated with better outcomes is length of stay in treatment.