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Youth Investment and Community Reconstruction: Street Lessons on Drugs and Crime for the Nineties, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
132 pages
The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation has worked since the 1980's to reduce urban violence and drug abuse through youth empowerment, community revitalization, and grass roots action.
The foundation conducted demonstrations in New York City, Miami, Boston, Washington, D.C., and other cities to study politically feasible national policies for the inner city. The central conclusion was that community-based organizations can create effective strategies to reduce crime and drug abuse in inner cities. Effective programs, however, cannot be developed "on the cheap." Inner cities require comprehensive solutions, and the most successful programs reach well beyond the immediate symptoms of crime and drug abuse to address the deeper problems of the surrounding community. The foundation's final report discusses individual and community development and various Federal and community programs to deal with urban problems. Six lessons from the 1980's are identified: (1) inner city, nonprofit organizations can be effective program implementers; (2) technical assistance from national organizations increases the chances for local program success; (3) voluntarism is being oversold for the inner city; (4) public sector agencies, including the police, have a central role in supporting community-based programs; (5) block watch and other conventional, community crime prevention tactics are sharply limited in the inner city; and (6) higher evaluation standards are needed for inner city programs. For the 1990's, the Eisenhower Foundation is focusing on early intervention and urban school reform, the idea of a Youth Investment Corporation for social development and empowerment, the reform of existing school-to-work transition programs, a community enterprise development strategy for the inner city, and drug abuse prevention and treatment. A national policy of youth investment and community reconstruction is advocated, and provisions of the proposed Youth Investment Act of 1993 are noted. 146 references and 8 figures