The Shrinking Youth Incarceration System


The United States has seen a dramatic reduction in the rate of juvenile incarceration since the turn of the century, according to new reports released by Tuesday by the non-profit National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD).

U.S. Department of Justice data show a 41 percent drop in the rate of youth confinement between 2001 and 2011, according to the NCCD. During that period, 48 states saw declines.

The reports, which cover prospects for legislation that can further reduce juvenile incarceration and stakeholder views on juvenile justice system, are the first in an eight-part series.

Subsequent reports, to be released this month, will focus on supervision, placement, oversight, adult transfers and family involvement.

For the reports, NCCD key stakeholder interviews, listening sessions in five states, held a national convening of juvenile justice leaders, and compiled and analyzed county-level data from five jurisdictions.

“While the trend is encouraging, much higher percentages of youth of color remain under formal supervision and in state secure facilities; more reform work is needed,” researchers wrote.

Despite the overall decrease in juvenile incarceration, in 2011 youth of color represented 81 percent of all youth in the juvenile court system, an increase of 13 percentage points from 2001, according to the NCCD.

Read the full studies HERE.

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