Despite the increases in juvenile population in Broward, juvenile crime is down. The rate per 1,000 is down to 71 in 2000-2001 from 1996-1997. It is still a concern because our youth is the foundation of our future. For the 2003-2004 budgets, the governor’s proposal narrows the mission of children services such as the Department of Juvenile Justice. It proposes funding cuts to further eliminate front-end programs and transfer costs to county. We have put together some aspects from the last 10 years to show the significance of this issue and past attempts to improve it.
The Department of Juvenile Justice was created in 1994 in response to juvenile crime rates and high-profile tourist murders. A continuum of services has been developed including prevention, intervention, and deep-end programs. In the past 3-4 years there have been decreases in front-end prevention and intervention services, and increased funding for secure and locked facilities.
As a result, the Department of Juvenile Justice integrated a few solutions to better the system for our children. The DJJ adopted the “8% Solution” from California which focuses resources on those youth that are most likely to offend or re-offend. In 2000, the passage of 10-20-Life Bill and Tough Love legislation makes it easier to incarcerate for longer periods of time and to try youths as adults. This helps troubled youth get the special attention that is necessary when they feel crime and the street life is the only way to survive.