The population of America's juvenile detention facilities is shrinking, but major racial disparities persist, according to the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
OJJDP recently released analysis of the 2011 Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, a biennial survey of public and private juvenile residential facilities.
The population of juvenile offenders in residential placement declined 42 percent between 1997 and 2011, but the placement rates of black and Hispanic youth far outpaced the placement rate of white youth.
Black youths were more than 4.5 times as likely to be placed in juvenile detention facilities than white youth, and Hispanic youth were 1.8 times more likely.
Youths accused of delinquency offenses — those that would be criminal violations for adults — accounted for 86 percent of the juvenile facility population in 2011. Status offenders — being held for non-criminal violations like truancy — made up 3 percent of the population.
About 11 percent were not charged with any offense, but were referred to juvenile facilities because of factors in their personal lives, including abuse, neglect or mental retardation.
Read OJJDP's full bulletin HERE.