to the 1985-1995 census of public juvenile detention, correctional and
shelter facilities, U.S. juvenile detention populations have increased
by some 72 percent over the past decade, largely as the result of increased
rates of detention for minority youth. It is interesting to note that less
than one-third of the youth (29 percent0 in secure detention (in a one
day snapshot in 1995) were charged with violent acts, while 71 percent
were held for status offenses and related court order violations, failure
to comply with conditions of supervision, and property, drug, and public
significant increase in juvenile detention accounts for the fact that more
than 60 percent of youth in juvenile detention are confined in facilities
that are operating over capacity. The effects of crowding are detrimental
for youth, staff and the community. They include a high incidence of disciplinary
infractions; escapes; violence; staff burnout; reduced opportunities for
programming, recreation, and education; and poor sanitation-factors which
increase the risk of litigation.
responses to addressing the problem of crowded juvenile detention
facilities vary. They include adding beds, constructing larger facilities,
instituting population caps, and attempting to reduce the number
of youths entering the facility and their length of stay. Each of these
options has serious short and long-term policy and financial implications.
Decisions as to how to approach the problem should be made with care and
deliberation, taking into account all available options and developing
a comprehensive response.
Thursday, April 27, 2000, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention, with the support of the National Juvenile Detention Association,
will host a national satellite videoconference to address various approaches
to solving the problem of crowding in juvenile detention facilities.
awareness of the problems resulting from crowding in juvenile detention
the usual responses to crowding and to explore new options.
strategies that communities can implement to address the problem.
the importance of legislative, executive and judicial branch leadership
in detention reform.
opportunities for public/private partnerships in the detention area.
This broadcast is designed
for judges, juvenile detention professionals, providers and potential
providers of detention alternatives, local and state policymakers, state
Directors of Juvenile Justice, local community leaders, universities,
law enforcement, social service or child welfare agencies, and others interested
in improving juvenile justice for young people.
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