Research on American Indian Juveniles

Although violent crime rates are declining throughout the Nation, they continue to rise in Indian Country. Children in Indian Country are especially vulnerable. More than one-third are at risk of becoming victims of abuse and/or neglect. In addition, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs found an estimated 375 gangs with 4,652 gang members in Indian Country in 1997. However, there is a critical need to learn more about the extent, nature, and roots of delinquency among tribal youth.

In FY 1999, OJJDP will implement a new Tribal Youth Program. This $10 million effort will focus on comprehensive delinquency prevention and control and on juvenile justice system improvement for American Indian youth. The Research Division will oversee the research, evaluation, and statistics components of this project and expects to support several research efforts nationwide. The Tribal Youth Program has four focus areas:

  • Reduction, control, and prevention of crime both by and against tribal youth.

  • Interventions for court-involved tribal youth.

  • Improvements to tribal juvenile justice systems.

  • Prevention programs focusing on alcohol and drugs.

This program will be closely coordinated with other bureaus within the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service.

OJJDP Research: Making a Difference for Juveniles August 1999