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Juvenile Justice

In 2008, over 93,000 young people were incarcerated and states spend about $5.7 billion each year imprisoning youth, even though the majority are held for nonviolent offenses. Locking up young people has negative consequences both for the youth themselves and for their communities. While the past few decades have seen positive steps taken in juvenile justice, both by individual jurisdictions and through national initiatives, there is much more that needs to be done. Shifting resources to community-based services and youth development is key.

Here, you can find JPI reports, briefs and factsheets on juvenile justice and needed reforms to ensure that young people are treated appropriately in the justice system.

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Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration
Our new report, Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration, provides estimates of the overall costs resulting from the negative outcomes associated with youth…
Virginia's Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair
Virginia's Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair points to reforms that, if implemented, would result in relief for Virginians directly impacted by the justice system and taxpayers alike.
Incarceration Generation Timeline
The Justice Policy Institute's 2013 published "Incarceration Generation," a coffee-table book of essays detailing the rise of mass incarceration over the last 40 years, features this pull-out…
DC Council Testimony on CFSA Budget Oversight Hearing
Testimony by Paul D. Ashton Research & Grants Coordinator, Justice Policy Institute
Video: A Blueprint for Juvenile Justice in Washington, D.C.
This film is based on a series of briefs focusing on youth-serving systems in the District that include: education, mental health, employment and child welfare. When considered together, the research…
Fostering Change: How Investing In D.C.’s Child Welfare System Can Keep Kids Out of the Prison Pipeline
Children in Washington, D.C.’s child welfare system are at greater risk for involvement in the justice system due to abuse, neglect and home removal that stem from conditions of poverty,…
Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have Improved Public Safety and Outcomes for Youth
Juvenile Justice Reform in Connecticut highlights the past two decades of Connecticut’s successful efforts to improve responses to youth who engage in delinquent behavior and to reduce the…
Two New Reports Show Juvenile Confinement Reform in Five States
Removing young people who engage in delinquent behavior from their homes and communities and incarcerating them, is no longer the status quo in five states, say two new reports by JPI.
Measured Responses: Why increasing law enforcement in schools is not an effective public safety response to the Newtown tragedy
In light of the horrific school shootings this month in Newtown, Connecticut, some have called for increasing armed police presence in schools. School safety should be a priority: it is not only…
Mindful of the Consequences: How Improving the Mental Health of D.C. Youth Benefits the District
This brief examines the intersection of youth mental health and the justice system in Washington, D.C.
Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools
The presence of school resource officers in schools, drives up arrests, causes lasting harm to youth, and disrupts the educational process.
DC Council Testimony on Bill 19-255, Sex Offender Registration Amendment Act
This testimony was presented to the DC City Council Committee on the Judiciary in regards to Bill 19-255, The Sex Offender Registration Amendment Act.
Testimony of JPI Executive Director to D.C. Council on Improving Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Many cities, D.C. have a high rate of poverty – about 1 in 5 residents and 30 percent of children live in poverty, and one resident in ten lives in extreme poverty – that is, 50 percent…
Healing Invisible Wounds: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense
As many as 9 in 10 youth in justice system have experienced a traumatic event, yet few such youth are identified as traumatized, and fewer receive appropriate treatment or placement
The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense
Approximately 93,000 young people are held in juvenile justice facilities across the United States. Seventy percent of these youth are held in state-funded, postadjudication, residential facilities,…
Registering Harm: How Sex Offense Registries Fail Youth Communities
The Adam Walsh Act will not keep our children safe. Instead, this law will consume valuable law enforcement resources, needlessly target children and families, and undermine the very purpose of the…
Factsheet Series on SORNA Registries and Youth
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA)1, which mandates a national registry of people convicted of sex offenses and expands the type of offenses for which a person must register,…
Factsheet: DC Crime and Arrest Statistics
Locking up youth in adult jails is not an effective method for increasing public safety in District neighborhoods, as youth are responsible for only a small percentage of the crimes committed in D.C.
Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies
Youth crime in the United States remains near the lowest levels seen in the past three decades, yet public concern and media coverage of gang activity has skyrocketed since 2000.
Coalition Letter against Feinstein Gang Bill
The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition comments on the new version of S. 456, the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007.
The Consequences Aren't Minor: The Impact of Trying Youth as Adults and Strategies for Reform
Despite a federal law that prohibits the incarceration of youth in adult correctional facilities, the number of young people held in jails across the country has exploded by 208 percent since the…
Models for Change: Building Momentum for Juvenile Justice Reform
Juvenile justice policy in the United States has quietly passed a milestone. After a decade shaped by myths of juvenile “superpredators” and the ascendancy of punitive reforms, momentum…
The Dangers of Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention and Other Secure Facilities
Despite the lowest youth crime rates in 20 years, hundreds of thousands of young people are locked away every year in the nation’s 591 secure detention centers. Detention centers are intended…
Fact Sheet: Rising Juvenile Crime in Perspective
The 2005 FBI Uniform Crime Reports were released and some media noted concerns of a 19 percent increase in juvenile murder arrests.
Cost-Effective Youth Corrections: Rationalizing the Fiscal Architecture of Juvenile Justice Systems
A number of states have shown that by rethinking how they fund their juvenile justice systems, states and localities can succeed in keeping more youth at home, reduce the number of youth…

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