Teen Offender Total in MA Custody Drops to Historically Low Level

The number of young offenders in the custody of Massachusetts’ juvenile justice agency has dropped to historically low levels, commissioners from the Department of Youth Services told legislators yesterday, reports State House News Service. In 2010, there were 730 young offenders in custody for the entire year, down from 1,113 in 2006. The number of young people in custody awaiting trials also dropped from an average of 300 a day to under 200 since the department started the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.

In 2005, the year the program started, the number of young offenders in custody for both the full year and those awaiting trial totaled 5,714. Youth Services Commissioner Jane Tewksbury said the goal of the initiative is to help non-violent criminal offenders get social services, while keeping them away from more violent criminals who could influence them to commit more serious crimes. The state runs 57 facilities, ranging from group homes to secure locked units, and 29 community-based programs for youth offenders who live with a parent or guardian.

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