In Search of Law and Order


In Search of Law and Order: Reclaiming America’s Kids is a three-part series that examines the pioneering efforts of three communities in Boston, Massachusetts; Fort Worth, Texas; and Richmond, California who work to keep troubled youth from becoming lifetime wards of the justice system.

In the ten years between 1984 and 1994, the number of juvenile homicide offenders in America tripled. While crime rates in America have begun to drop, teen-on-teen violence, especially in poor, urban neighborhoods, is still out of control. Year after year, more teenage boys are killed by guns than all natural causes combined. Against the backdrop of these bleak statistics, a number of communities across the country are taking a fresh approach to “troubled” kids. Realizing that locking up our youth is expensive and does little to reduce violence, these pioneers are addressing the roots of violence with innovative programs involving schools, rehabilitation programs, and unique multi-agency partnerships. They are, in effect, reclaiming America’s kids.

“The Limits of Justice” tells the story of Boston’s successful attempt to stop juvenile homicides and its impact on kids in the city’s toughest neighborhoods. “Young, Armed and Dangerous” showcases the innovative attempts of one of America’s toughest cities, Fort Worth, Texas, to prevent violent youth from re-offending. “Catching Them Early” documents the efforts of schools and citizens in Richmond, California, to prevent kids from getting involved in crime in the first place.

Funding for In Search of Law and Order was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Center on Crime, Communities & Culture, a project of the Open Society Institute. Produced for PBS by Kikim Media, Films of Record and KQED/San Francisco.