Background on Juvenile Crime

  • On April 21, 1999, two high school students brought numerous guns to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and began shooting. Twelve students, one teacher, and the two shooters were killed, and dozens others wounded.
  • Similar shootings have occurred in recent years at schools in Pearl, Mississippi, which left two dead, West Paducah, Kentucky, which left three dead, Jonesboro, Arkansas, which left five dead, Edinboro, Pennsylvania, which left one dead, and Springfield, Oregon, which left two dead.
  • The shootings have prompted a re-examination of the causes of juvenile crime; the candidates' conclusions are found below.
  • Candidates’ responses based on lagging morality, such as posting the Ten Commandments in schools, can be found in the Civil Rights category.
  • Candidates’ calls for changing gun laws can be found in the Gun Control category.
    Juvenile Enforcement
  • Juvenile violent crime arrests for 15- to 17-year-olds doubled in the period 1987-1994, but have been dropping since then.
  • Boot camps are facilities designed to dissuade juvenile criminals from becoming adult criminals. They are considered a “tough on crime” policy, but are also an alternative to trying juveniles as adults.
  • Try as Adults is another “tough on crime” stance; juvenile penalties are generally lighter than for the same crime committed by adults.
    Media Responsibility
  • Video & music labeling: Rather than censor media material, labeling allows parents to limit their children's access, like the G/PG/R/NC17 voluntary movie rating system.
  • Internet Filtering: Rather than censor the Internet, filtering allows parents to restrict their children's access to unsuitable web sites by technological means.

    (click a book cover for a review or other books on Juvenile issues from

    Related issues:

    Gun Control
    Families & Children

    Background documents:

    Public Agenda, crime statistics
    Denver Post, Columbine aftermath
    Click here for The Forum discussion on Juvenile Crime.
    Click here for policy papers on Juvenile Crime.
    Quotations from candidates on Juvenile Crime:
    Pat Buchanan
    George W. Bush
    Al Gore
    Ralph Nader

    Minor Candidates:
    Harry Browne
    John Hagelin
    David McReynolds
    Howard Phillips

    V.P. Candidates:
    Dick Cheney
    Joe Lieberman
    Winona LaDuke
    Ezola Foster

    Withdrawn Candidates:
    Lamar Alexander
    Gary Bauer
    Bill Bradley
    Elizabeth Dole
    Steve Forbes
    Orrin Hatch
    John Kasich
    Alan Keyes
    John McCain
    Dan Quayle
    Bob Smith
    Donald Trump
    Paul Wellstone
    Senate Races:
    (AZ) Kyl  vs. Starky
    (CA) Feinstein  vs. Campbell  & Lightfoot
    (CT) Lieberman  vs. Giordano  & Green
    (DE) Roth  vs. Carper
    (FL) McCollum  vs. Nelson  & Logan
    (GA) Miller  vs. Mattingly
    (HI) Akaka  vs. Douglas
    (IN,R) Lugar  vs. Johnson
    (MA) Kennedy  vs. Robinson  & Howell  & Lawler
    (MD) Sarbanes  vs. Rappaport
    (ME,R) Snowe  vs. Lawrence
    (MI) Abraham  vs. Stabenow
    (MN) Grams  vs. Dayton
    (MO) Ashcroft  vs. Carnahan
    (MS) Lott  vs. Giles  & Brown
    (MT,R) Burns  vs. Schweitzer
    (ND) Conrad  vs. Sand
    (NE) Nelson  vs. Stenberg
    (NJ,R) Franks  vs. Corzine
    (NM,D) Bingaman  vs. Redmond
    (NV,D) Bernstein  vs. Ensign
    More Senate Races:
    (NY) Clinton  vs. Lazio  & Giuliani  & Wein
    (OH) DeWine  vs. Celeste  & McAlister
    (PA) Santorum  vs. Klink
    (RI) Chafee  vs. Weygand
    (TN) Frist  vs. Clark  & Burrell  & Johnson
    (TX,R) Hutchison  vs. Kelley  & Ruwart
    (UT) Hatch  vs. Dexter  & Howell
    (VA,D) Robb  vs. Allen
    (VT) Jeffords  vs. Flanagan
    (WA,R) Gorton  vs. Cantwell  & McKeigue
    (WI,D) Kohl  vs. Gillespie
    (WV,D) Byrd  vs. Gallaher
    (WY,R) Thomas  vs. Logan

    Senate Races
    House of Representatives
    SenateMatch (matching quiz)
    Senate Votes (analysis)
    House Votes