The role of the juvenile delinquency prosecutor is not only incredibly important, but also constantly evolving. Prosecutors no longer merely react to juvenile crime. They initiate strategies to prevent it. The current approach to juvenile delinquency balances community safety, offender accountability to victims and communities, and competency development in offenders. These three goals, as a comprehensive response to juvenile delinquency, encourage participation of all stakeholders to ensure optimal outcomes in the court system. Prosecutors embracing these three goals have developed alternative strategies to address juvenile justice issues and have demonstrated a willingness to seek legal solutions beyond traditional law enforcement responses. Across the United States, prosecutors are developing programs to divert youth from the justice system. They are collaborating with agency partners to promote public safety, address the needs of the victims, hold youth accountable for their actions, and enhance the competency of youth to be productive members of their communities.
NDAA updated the National Juvenile Prosecution Standards and the Juvenile Prosecution Policy Positions and Guidelines in consideration of the balanced approach. The Standards and Policy Positions reflect what is already considered “best practice” in many prosecutor offices. Through a grant from the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and in partnership with Georgetown University, NDAA helped develop a national juvenile prosecution training curriculum. The curriculum addresses contemporary issues like human trafficking, cultural awareness, adolescent brain development, prevention and early intervention, and more.