There were 12 percent fewer juveniles in custody in 2008 compared with 2006, says the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a a trend the agency says may be explained by the decline in juvenile arrests. Crowding is still a problem in many facilities, but improvements continue, OJJDP says. The proportion of juveniles in places at or above the limit of standard bed capacity dropped from 40 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2008.
In 2008, 3 percent of facilities exceeded their capacity or had juveniles sleeping in makeshift beds. California had by far the most juveniles in custody of any state in 2008, 13,309; Florida was second with 5,895 and Pennsylvania third with 5,034. The national total was slightly over 81,000. The survey reported that 14 youth died in custody between October 1, 2007, and September 30, 2008, including 6 suicides.