Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Overview

Stock image of people shaking hands and smilingThe Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention focuses on at-risk youth and juvenile justice issues across the state.

Mission: Reduce and prevent juvenile delinquency by effectively intervening, educating and treating youth in order to strengthen families and increase public safety.

Vision: A seamless, equitable, comprehensive juvenile justice system that fully invests in the success of our employees and provides timely, age-appropriate services to youth and their families in need, in the most appropriate settings.

If a youth who is 15 years old or younger and commits a crime, his or her case will be brought to the attention of the Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Juvenile court now has exclusive, original jurisdiction over the offenses (non-motor vehicle related) of 16 and 17-year olds which occur on or after Dec. 1, 2019. However, if a youth has a previous criminal (adult) court conviction, and commits a delinquent offense, the youth is no longer subject to juvenile jurisdiction (known as: once an adult, always an adult).

Thousands of youth encounter North Carolina's juvenile justice system through interaction with DJJDP's Juvenile Crime Prevention Council services, community programs, juvenile court services and juvenile commitment facilities.

The primary units of DJJDP include: Community ProgramsCourt ServicesFacility Operations, Education Services and Clinical Services and Programs.

What Works in Reducing Recidivism

  • RISK PRINCIPLE: Match the intensity of individual’s intervention to their risk of reoffending.
  • NEED PRINCIPLE: Target criminogenic needs, such as antisocial behavior, substance abuse, antisocial attitudes and criminogenic peers.
  • RESPONSIVITY PRINCIPLE: Tailor the intervention to the learning style, motivation, culture, demographics and abilities of the youth. Address the issues that affect responsivity (e.g., mental illness).

The online application process for programs, and application for JCPC funding can be found here.

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The Division of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is committed to the reduction and prevention of juvenile delinquency by effectively intervening, educating and treating youth in order to strengthen families and increase public safety. Goals include:

  • Fostering communities that are safe from juvenile crime.
  • Collaborating with judges, district attorneys, juvenile defense attorneys, law enforcement agencies, schools and other youth service providers to determine and provide the right program for each youth.
  • Providing safe and secure housing for youth in care and to provide programming that teaches pro-social skills.
  • Providing accurate assessment and effective treatment of youth.
  • Preventing youth from initial or further involvement in the juvenile justice system through partnerships with local governments and communities.
  • Providing educational and/or vocational opportunities for our youth to realize success when they leave our system and re-enter the community.

DJJDP serves the citizens of North Carolina, to ensure the safety of our communities and the well-being of our youth. In order to fulfill our juvenile justice function, the Division provides a full continuum of public safety interventions involving children and youth ages 6 through 17 alleged to, or have been found to, have committed an undisciplined or delinquent offense; in cases where youth are placed under court jurisdiction before their 18th birthday and require further interventions under the Juvenile Code (Chapter 7B), they may remain under juvenile justice court supervision or in commitment status when so ordered up until their 19th, 20th or 21st birthday, depending on their age and offense. A 90-day minimum period of post-release supervision is required for youth following release from a youth development center. Juvenile Justice is piloting with partners' innovation reentry programming to meet each youth's individualized risk and needs.

What services are provided to at-risk/delinquent/undisciplined youth? DJJDP's philosophy is that the most successful way to approach risk and problem behaviors in youth is through the use of evidence-based and effective prevention, treatment, education and accountability-based sanctions in graduated levels guided by professional, strategic leadership through a tapestry of local and state partnerships. This approach, called the Comprehensive Strategy, requires effectual partnerships in local jurisdictions and values close relationships with families, local resources, law enforcement and the courts to achieve the most effective levels of impact before seeking “state resources” through institutionalizing youth in detention or youth development centers.

How does the juvenile justice process work? When a youth is suspected of committing a deliquent offense, a citizen or member of law enforcement can file a complaint against them. At this time, a youth goes through an intake process with a juvenile court counselor, where complaints and evidence are evaluated. Court counselors then determine whether the complaint is serious enough to warrant court action or obtain assistance from community resources when court referral is not necessary. Within 2-4 weeks, the court counselor must decide whether or not to approve the complaint for court action. Serious felonies such as murder, rape and burglary must be approved for court. If it is found that there is no need for court action or referral to a community resource, the juvenile's case may be closed. If the court counselor believes the youth may benefit from a community resource, a diversion plan or contract may be created with the youth and his or her parents. Court counselors also work with undisciplined juveniles who are placed under protective supervision and with delinquent juveniles who are placed under court supervision. In each case, a juvenile's need for treatment and service is identified and local resources are mobilized.