Law enforcers get only minimal training in juvenile justice, according to a new report by Strategies for Youth, a Massachusetts-based organization that advocates for improved interactions between police and youths. The reports says police academies devote on average just 1 percent of curriculum time to juvenile justice. Alaska, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Colorado require no juvenile justice training in the academy at all.
This is despite the fact that police arrest approximately 2.1 million youths in the United States each year. The vast majority of these arrests are for low level, non-violent offenses, such as disorderly conduct, trespassing, or disruption of a school environment. The majority of the remainder are for property and public disorder offenses, and the legal equivalent of fighting. Twelve percent of all juvenile arrests are for serious, violent felonies. The study was conducted after the release of an International Association of Chiefs of Police's report noting the absence of in-service training in juvenile justice for police officers.