The number of juvenile offenders in residential facilities hit in 2012 its lowest point since at least 1975, according to a new report released by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
The biennial Children in Custody Census collects information about facilities that hold juveniles. The recently released 2012 Census tracked 1,985 facilities, holding 57,190 offenders younger than 21.
For 25 years, from 1975 through 2000, the total number of juvenile offenders housed in residential facilities increased every year, but that number has dropped consistently since 2000.
“For the first time since 2000, more offenders were in local facilities on the census day in 2012 than were in state operated facilities,” according to the report.
But more than one-in-five facilities remains overcrowded.
“Twenty-one percent (21%) of facilities said that the number of residents they held on the 2012 census date put them at or over the capacity of their standard beds or that they relied on some makeshift beds,” researchers wrote. “Thus … 16 percent of offenders younger than 21 were held in facilities operating at or above their standard bed capacity.”
State facilities tended to be larger, housing dozens or even hundreds of juveniles, and have more intense security features, such as locked confinement and razor wire, according to the report.
Read the full report HERE.