Across the US, A Drop in the Number of Youth Confined in Facilities

September 14, 2018

We know from data that incarcerating young people isn't good for young people, and doesn't work to reduce redidivism or help young people get their lives back on track. A new report finds that across the country, rates of youth incarceration are dropping on average -- down 58 percent from 2000. The number of facilities holding young people dropped 42 percent during the same timeframe.

That's according to a Pew Charitable Trusts web analysis, Steep Drop Since 2000 in Number of Facilities Confining Juveniles. The report reviews data from the Juvenile Residential Facility Census Databook, a biennial measure compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, that looks at the sites holding young people and the number of young people in custody.

The web analysis:

  • illustrates the 42 percent drop in juvenile justice facilities housing young people between 2000 and 2016 nationwide,
  • provides compelling examples of states that have used legislative reforms to redirect resources toward community programs and/or diversion for those charged with less serious offenses, reserving out-of-home placements for the small number of youth who pose the greatest threat to public safety, and
  • highlights a new toolkit from the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators that provides guidance to help juvenile justice agencies: 1) close facilities in ways that meet the needs of youth, families and staff, and 2) consider such closures as a component of broader efforts to change juvenile justice systems.

→ Get the full story and the toolkit here, on the Pew website.