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IBS Seminar, Hosted by PBPYD: Evidence-based Programs, Policies and Practices: A Fifty-Year Update on the Kerner Commission Report, 1968

March 7, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Del Elliott


The Kerner Commission, established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 to investigate the causes of the violent race riots in the U.S., recommended the implementation of evidence-based violence prevention programs, noting that “the nation must stop doing what doesn’t work and replicate what does work at a scale equal to the dimensions of our problems.” Subsequent updates of the Commission’s Report have noted some progress in the identification and implementation of evidence-based interventions, but conclude they were relatively rare, local, under-funded, and had little impact on the on-going operation of our major institutions.

The extent to which current American prevention programs, practices and policies are evidence-based and implemented at a scale sufficient to insure a positive course of development for all children and youth is reviewed. As in the initial Report, the focus in this 50-year update is on crime and violence prevention and treatment interventions and, to the extent they are implicated in the causes of criminal behavior, interventions targeting health, education and economic risk and protective factors. Programs that are currently effective in preventing violence and other forms of crime are identified and their levels of dissemination, adoption and impact on crime in America estimated. In addition, current crime prevention programs being implemented at scale that are known to be ineffective or harmful are also identified. Barriers to achieving the violence prevention goals of the Kerner Commission are identified.


Del Elliott is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and a Research Professor Emeritus in the Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado Boulder. He was the Founding Director of The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence in the Institute of Behavioral Science and the Founding Director and Principle Investigator for the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development Initiative until retiring in 2018. He was the Principle Investigator for the first 9 waves of the National Youth Survey, the longest study of criminal behavior and drug use in a national panel of adolescents and young adults in the United States. Del's books include Delinquency and Dropout (1974); The Social Psychology of Runaway (1978); Explaining Delinquency and Drug Use (1985); Multiple Problem Youth: Delinquency, Drugs and Mental Health Problems (1989); Violence in American Schools (1998), Good Kids from Bad Neighborhoods (2006) and The Prevention of Crime (2017). Del served as Chair of the Criminal and Violent Behavior Review Committee (NIMH) and is a past President and Fellow of the American Society of Criminology.

In 1995 he received the prestigious Edwin H. Sutherland Award for outstanding contributions to the field of Criminology from the American Society of Criminology. In 1998 he received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In 2000 he received the Paul Tappan Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Criminology by the Western Society of Criminology and the Science to Practice Award from the Society for Prevention Research. In November of 2003 he received the August Vollmer Award from the American Society of Criminology and in 2005 he became a Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology. He was the Senior Science Editor for Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2001. In 2001 he received the U.S. Public Health Service Medallion for Distinguished Service awarded by Dr. David Satcher, U.S. Surgeon General.


March 7, 2019
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


Prevention Science Program


IBS 155B
Institute of Behavioral Science 1440 15th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
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