Tribal Court Clearinghouse          

Juvenile Justice

The violent crime rate among American Indians is twice that of the United States as a whole. Tribal communities are also beset by high rates of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, alcohol abuse, and gang involvement. Given such factors, it is not surprising that tribal youth are exposed to multiple risk factors for delinquency. Indeed, while the violent crime rate for U.S. youth has steadily declined over the past several years, the rate of violent juvenile crime in tribal communities continues to grow. Risk factors for delinquency for the nearly 2 million American Indians who live on or near tribal lands are compounded by a lack of social services.

Tribal communities are challenged by inadequate resources for their juvenile justice systems, resulting in insufficient training of law enforcement and other justice personnel and a dearth of programs that comprehensively combat juvenile delinquency through appropriate prevention, intervention, and sanction activities.

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice have co-written a brief entitled, "American Indian/Alaska Native Youth & Status Offense Disparities: A Call For Tribal Initiatives, Coordination & Federal Funding," which examines the disparities faced in the state system by AI/AN youth who are charged with status offenses, the ability of both state and tribal systems to respond to status offenses, and federal funding levels to support efforts to better serve these youth. 

The Tribal Youth Program (TYP) is managed and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Tribal Youth Program is part of the Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative, a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of Justice and the Interior to improve law enforcement and juvenile justice in Indian Country.

OJJDP’s Tribal Youth Initiatives Bulletin describes the efforts of  the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to assist tribal communities through such initiatives as the Tribal Youth Program, the Tribal Youth Program Mental Health Project, the Comprehensive Indian Resources for Community and Law Enforcement (CIRCLE) Project, training and technical assistance, and research and evaluation.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Fact Sheets

  • 2000 Survey of Youth Gangs in Indian Country [PDF] [ASCII]
  • OJJDP’s Program of Research for Tribal Youth [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Training and Technical Assistance for Indian Nation Juvenile Justice Systems [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Tribal Court CASA: A Guide to Program Development [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Tribal Youth Program [PDF] [ASCII]
  • United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCJ 184747. [PDF]).

American Indian/Alaska Native Youth Publications

Youth Gangs in Indian Country describes the nature and makeup of youth gangs in Indian Country by drawing on research findings from a survey conducted by the National Youth Gang Center (NYGC). This Bulletin presents data regarding the presence and effect of youth gang activity in Indian Country and provides an overview of programmatic responses to the problem. To better understand the gang problem in Indian Country, the Bulletin compares data from NYGC’s 2000 Survey of Youth Gangs in Indian Country with data from a national sample of survey respondents and from a field study of gangs in the Navajo Nation. Drawing on these research findings, the Bulletin proposes proven prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies to address the problem of youth gangs in Indian Country.

Building Culturally Relevant Youth Courts in Tribal Communities by American Indian Development Associates draws on the ideas and expertise of many who work in youth courts throughout the United States, as well as on the experience of staff at the National Youth Court Center at the American Probation and Parole Association who have researched and worked with youth courts on a national level for more than ten years.

Collaboration and Resource Sharing to Improve Services to Indian Youth  by American Indian Development Associates highlights successful resource sharing strategies that represents commitment to something larger than the single focused organizational goals and objectives and a shift to enter into relationships with other agencies to achieve shared goals, visions and responses to mutual interest and obligations.

The following articles and excerpts (linked to HTML files) are from OJJDP’s Juvenile Justice journal, Vol. VII, No. 2, December 2000 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCJ 184747. [PDF]).

American Indian/Alaska Native Criminal Justice Publications

  • American Indians and Crime, 1992-2002
  • Capital Punishment 2000 [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [HRRPT]
  • Cultural Practices in American Indian Prevention Programs [HTML]
  • Hate Crimes Reported in NIBRS, 1997–99 [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Jails in Indian Country, 2001 [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Jails in Indian Country, 2000 [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Jails in Indian Country, 1998 and 1999 [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Policing on American Indian Reservations [PDF] [ASCII]
  • Prevention Through Empowerment in a Native American Community [HTML]
  • Report of the Executive Committee for Indian Country Law Enforcement Improvements [HTML]
  • Violent Victimization and Race, 1993–98 [PDF] [ASCII]


Tribal Law and Policy Institute (TLPI) Links 

TLPI Home 
TLPI Publications
TLPI Philosophies
TLPI Projects and Services
TLPI Webinars
TLPI Staff
Request Technical Assistance
Fee For Service
Support TLPI
Contact TLPI

TLPI Websites

Walking On Common Ground
Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts
Tribal Sex Trafficking Resources
Tribal Protection Order Resources
Child Welfare Capacity Building Center for Tribes
Tribal Child Welfare Resources
Tribal Legal Studies
Tribal Law Updates
Indian Nations Conferences

TLPI Publications By Subject

Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts
Violence Against Native Women
Sexual Assault
Child Abuse and Neglect
Tribal-State Court Collaborations
Public Law 280
Juvenile Justice

TLPI Publications By Series

Legal Code Development Series
Tribal Legal Studies Textbook Series
Promising Strategies Series
Protocol Guide Series
Video Resource Series

Native Law Blogs

Tribal Law Updates
Sex Trafficking in Indian Country Update
Alaska Indigenous
Falmouth Institute/American Indian Report
ICWA Info Blog
Indian Legal Program – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Legal History Blog
Legal Scholarship Blog
National Indian Law Library Blog
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
Native American Legal Update
Turtle Talk


- Top of Page -