Thousands of status offenders — youths who commit offenses that wouldn't be considered offenses but for their age: truancy, running away from home, curfew violations, alcohol or tobacco possession — end up in juvenile detention centers each year. The Washington-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice says status offenders should never be detained. A report from the group this week says doing so may increase the likelihood the youths will become more involved with the juvenile justice system later and even with the criminal justice system when they become adults, reports Youth Today.
The report provides detailed recommendations on dealing with status offenses for those working with status offenders and their families. The group developed the recommendations with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a team that included juvenile and family court judges, child welfare workers, juvenile defense attorneys, juvenile corrections and detention administrators and community-based service providers. “Research and evidence-based approaches have proven that secure detention of status offenders is ineffective and frequently dangerous,” the report said.