Because juvenile curfew laws are supposed to reduce juvenile crime and victimization but empirical evidence demonstrates these laws are ineffective, this study examined the juvenile curfew law in New Orleans, Louisiana, through focus group discussions with young people.
The strictest juvenile curfew in the United States was implemented in New Orleans in June 1994. The curfew prohibits all young people under 17 years of age from being in public places except when accompanied by a legal guardian after 8 p.m. on weeknights during the school year and after 9 p.m. during the summer months. On weekends, the curfew begins at 11 p.m. Juvenile views on the curfew were sought in focus groups with 79 young people. Focus groups concentrated on knowledge, enforcement, and evaluation of the curfew and on compliance with the curfew. Results showed adolescent knowledge of the curfew was incomplete and disobedience was widespread. Young people were concerned about unfair enforcement of the curfew, yet they overwhelmingly supported the curfew. Further examination of statements made by young people indicated they felt unsafe and wanted parents to be responsible for them and to protect them. 56 references and 1 note
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