November | December 2013

OJJDP Research Highlighted at American Society of Criminology Meeting
The American Soociety of Criminology

At the American Society of Criminology's (ASC's) 2013 meeting on November 20–23, in Atlanta, GA, OJJDP organized 10 presentations on recent developments in research the Office is supporting in a range of areas, including gangs, mentoring, girls’ delinquency, the sexual trafficking of minors, and youth violence.

In a session entitled “Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Societal Problem in Need of Solutions,” researchers from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) described the findings of an OJJDP-commissioned report released in September. IOM and NRC are branches of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Entitled Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking in the United States, the report emphasizes that these crimes should be understood as acts of abuse and violence against children, that minors who are commercially sexually exploited or trafficked for sexual purposes should not be considered criminals, and that identification of victims and survivors as well as any interventions should do no further harm.

“Often, we inappropriately arrest, detain, or incarcerate children who are prostituted,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee in videotaped remarks preceding the session. “They receive few services. And we also allow too many perpetrators to walk away unpunished. This report can serve as a true starting point and roadmap for addressing this abuse against children.”

Other sessions on OJJDP-funded research at the ASC conference included:

  • Trajectories of Gang Membership and Differential Consequences in the Life Course: Results From a National Sample
  • Gangs in the Mental Health Sector: Studying the Characteristics and Outcomes of Gang-Involved Youth in Treatment
  • Mentoring Research Studies and Findings
  • Serious Adolescent Offenders 7 Years Later: Who Reoffends, Who Does Not
  • In the Rearview: Reflections on Youth Violence Trends Over the Past Three Decades
  • Childhood Exposure to Crime, Violence, and Victimization in the United States
  • The Invisible Victims: Boys, Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and the Justice System
  • Girls’ Delinquency Research
  • OJJDP Resources for Researchers

Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Karol V. Mason offered remarks at the meeting. She described OJP’s wide-ranging activities to advance science in the criminal and juvenile justice fields. OJP’s top priorities are to improve the data infrastructure and the quality of program evaluations, and to integrate evidence into OJP’s grants and technical assistance, Assistant Attorney General Mason said. She cited numerous examples of OJP’s work, including the CrimeSolutions.gov Web site, which provides information about evidence-based programs and practices, and the Diagnostic Center, which uses data-driven solutions to help state and local leaders address crime problems.

“Support for the sciences and emphasis on evidence comes from the very top of the Obama Administration,” Mason said. “The President has set a management agenda that calls for a ‘smarter, more innovative, and more accountable government.’”

ASC is an international organization that promotes scientific and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency.

Resources:

Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Karol V. Mason’s remarks are available on the DOJ Web site. OJP’s CrimeSolutions.gov and the Diagnostic Center may also be accessed online. OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide, an online resource of evidence-based prevention, intervention, and reentry programs for juvenile justice practitioners, policymakers, and communities, is available on the Office's Web site.