One Year Later: JPI Findings on Juvenile Confinement Reform Trending

Read our 3.7.14 Just Policy Blog post highlighting this announcement.

One Year Later   
JPI Findings on Juvenile Confinement Reform Trending

One year ago this week, the Justice Policy Institute released two groundbreaking reports highlighting the encouraging trend toward reduced confinement of youth nationwide.

In the year since the release of JPI's reports, Common Ground: Lessons Learned from Five States that Reduced Juvenile Confinement by More than Half, and Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut, we have seen an acceleration in the juvenile justice reform trends we documented, in addition to an increase in advocacy and media attention.   



Common Ground deincarceration trends deepen as juvenile arrests continue to decline 


One year after we profiled the lessons learned from five states that reduced juvenile confinement by more than half, data published in the last 90 days by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) show that fewer and fewer young people are incarcerated, and this trend has not made our communities any less safe.

  • Continuing deincarceration in the five states profiled in Common Gound. One year later, new data released by OJJDP through the Census of Residential Placement found that every state profiled in Common Ground-Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee- saw a deeper decline in the number of youth incarcerated -- in the past year and over ten years. Between 2001 and 2011, these states reported declines in youth incarceration that ranged between 65 to 43 percent.
  • Continuing deincarceration nationally. One year later after Common Ground was published, the Census of Residential Placement showed that the number of youth incarcerated in the United State continued to decline, with a 41 percent decline over the decade (2001-2011). All five states had a bigger drop in incarceration than the national average.
  • Juvenile arrests continue to decline. One year later, new OJJDP data on arrest trends (Juvenile Arrests 2011) showed that four out of five states saw a decline in youth arrested for violent crime. This shows, you can safely reduce the use of incarceration without a negative impact on public safety.  The decline includes the state of Connecticut, which during the past decade led states in reforms to reduce the number of youth incarcerated in the state, and reduced the number of youth tried as adults by raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction.

Juvenile justice reforms continue in Connecticut and influence policy change around the country


One year after we published Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have Improved Public Safety and Outcomes, a number of activities have transpired telling the story of how Connecticut safely and effectively reduced reliance on incarceration and the transfer of youth into the adult system.

The report has been used as a tool to explain to policymakers how to
redesign a juvenile justice system so that it can be more humane, benefit youth and families, improve public safety, help young people succeed, and reduce the transfer of youth to the adult system. In July, the report was featured in a congressional briefing hosted by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). Participants included moderator Mike Thompson, Council of State Governments; Mike Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, Connecticut; State Sen. John Whitmire (D-TX); Judge Linda Teodosio, Summit County Juvenile Court, Ohio; and Robert Listenbee, Administrator of OJJDP. It was a successful effort to educate lawmakers on the best ways government can help reform juvenile justice policy.

JPI also salutes the juvenile justice workers that are making real on the ground the policy changes we profiled in Common Ground and Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut, and the advocates who have helped catalyze the changes in these systems. Our hats go off to the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, the Children's Action Alliance of Arizona, the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Minnesota, and Citizens for Juvenile Justice in Massachusetts and the Juvenile Justice Initiative of Illinois for their recent advances in raise the age reform in the past year. We'd also like to thank the MacArthur Foundation and the Tow Foundation for funding this important work. 


To read Common Ground or Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut  CLICK HERE.  

 To help us continue our work, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to JPI.





Media Garnered from JPI's Juvenile Confinement Reports

Juvenile detention down sharply in Pima County
Arizona Daily Star

Smartening Up On Approach To Young Offenders
Hartford Courant

TN has steepest drop in youth incarceration
The Tennessean

Reports: Fewer kids sent to juvenile detention facilities, but race a big factor
Minnesota Public Radio

Report: Louisiana an example in reducing juvenile incarceration
Shreveport Times (Associated Press)

Reports: Fewer kids sent to juvenile detention facilities, but race a big factor
New York Times

Explainer: By the Numbers, Connecticut's Experience With Juvenile Justice Reforms
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Common Ground
Youth Transition Funders Blog

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