NDAA is honored to have funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to provide a comprehensive training program to juvenile prosecutors from around the country. We provide trainings and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics including charging decisions, diversion, evidence, preparing for hearings and trials, and building relationships between youth and law enforcement. We also provide trainings on specific programs. Many of our trainings are attended not only by prosecutors but by other juvenile justice professionals as well. We have a Prosecutor Advisory Board as well as a Law Enforcement Advisory Board and work closely with Children Exposed to Violence (CEV) programs. We are in the process of creating a National Handbook for juvenile prosecutors, and a curriculum and video on building relationships between youth and law enforcement, which will be shared free of charge with prosecutors, schools and community organizations.
Role of the Juvenile Prosecutor
The role of the juvenile prosecutor is multifaceted. Juvenile prosecutors play a key role in ensuring that juvenile crime in communities is being addressed fairly; that efforts are being made to prevent such crime; that youth are receiving positive interventions and appropriate services to reduce re-offending; and that victims and witnesses are being supported.
Juvenile prosecutors make decisions on a daily basis regarding case assessments/investigations, charging, plea bargaining, disposition/sentencing and overall legal strategy. They work closely with victims, witnesses and members of law enforcement. They also spend time in communities, including speaking at schools, and attending community events in order to share information about juvenile justice and learn from community members and other stakeholders.
The current approach to juvenile delinquency balances community safety, the youth’s accountability to victims and communities, and the rehabilitative and treatment needs of the youth. These goals, as a comprehensive response to juvenile delinquency, encourage participation of all stakeholders to ensure optimal outcomes in the court system. Prosecutors embracing these goals have developed 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 and recommending community-based programs where appropriate at the dispositional/sentencing phase of the case. The utilization of effective programs and interventions helps make communities safer and improves outcomes for youth. Juvenile prosecutors are collaborating with agency and community partners to promote public safety, address the needs of victims and witnesses, and hold youth accountable while helping ensure they travel along a positive and successful path in the future.
Contact Angela Albertus, Program Director
National District Attorneys Association
1400 Crystal Drive, Suite 330
Arlington, VA 22202