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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. Below are resources on needed reforms to ensure that young people are treated appropriately in the justice system.

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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…
Factsheet: Crime, Race and Juvenile Justice Policy in Perspective
African American youth arrest rates for drug violations, assaults and weapon offenses are higher than arrest rates for white youth—even though both report similar rates of delinquency.
Ganging Up on Communities: Putting Gang Crime in Context
In an effort to better understand the national public safety impact of gangs, this policy brief examines leading national indicators of crime to put the concern around gangs in the context of those…
Ganging Up on Crime?
The Bush administration and Congress support huge cuts to programs that serve youth, which is likely to do more to destabilize communities and aggravate crime than promote public safety.
Effective Methods of Reducing Youth in Secure Placements
JPI was asked to provide recommendations as to how youth in institutional custody, particularly those with low risk-assessment scores, could be safely managed in the community.
Report to the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners
This report and recommendations to the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners on current and past practices relating to juvenile detention represents the collective effort of a team of technical…
Workforce and Youth Development: Barriers and Promising Approaches to Workforce and Youth Development for Young Offenders
With juvenile crime and justice receiving sustained attention and study, employment and training programs for court-involved young people have been examined as providing solutions to some of the…
A Tale of Two Jurisdictions: Youth Crime and Detention Rates in Maryland the District of Columbia
Several hundred thousand youth churn through our nation’s detention facilities each year – youth who have been arrested, but not convicted, of any charges.
Schools and Suspensions: Self-Reported Crime and the Growing Use of Suspensions
In 1998, in the wake of tragic shootings in Jonesboro, Arkansas, West Paducah, Kentucky, Pearl, Mississippi and other communities, the Justice Policy Institute sought to inject some context and data…
Off Balance: Youth, Race & Crime in the News
In January 2000, the Building Blocks for Youth initiative issued its first report, The Color of Justice , which found that youth of color in California were more than eight times as likely to be…
School House Hype: Two Years Later
In this report, JPI compares the notion that children faced growing risks of violent death by gunfire with the statistical reality of school shootings.
The Florida Experiment: An analysis of the practice of granting prosecutors discretion to try juveniles as adults
Florida is one of 15 states that allow prosecutors–not a judge–to decide whether children arrested for crimes ranging from shoplifting to robbery should be dealt with in the juvenile…
Second Chances: 100 Years of the Children's Court, Giving Kids a Chance to Make a Better Choice
Before women could vote and while segregation was still the law of the land, their efforts led to the creation of the first juvenile court in the world, which opened its doors on July 3, 1899 in…
School House Hype: School Shootings and the Real Risks Kids Face in America
During the 1997-98 school year, the American public was riveted by the images: small town and suburban schools taped off by police-lines, paramedics rushing to wheel tiny bodies away on gurneys and…
Runaway Juvenile Crime?: The context of juvenile arrests in America
Supporters of S-10 are pulling statistics out of context in order to drive a hysterical sense that juvenile crime is on the rise.
The Will of the People? The Public's Opinion of the Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender
The United States Senate is expected to vote on a bill shortly which would radically alter America's juvenile justice system.
The Pods of Elmore County: A Glimpse into the Rhetoric Behind the Juvenile Crime Bill
A previous report by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) revealed that, when juveniles are jailed or imprisoned with adults, they are 5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted, 8 times more likely…
The Risks Juveniles Face When They Are Incarcerated With Adults
Child advocates, law enforcement officials, and criminologists have urged Congress to consider the destructive effects of placing youth in adult jails and prisons a substantial body of research shows…

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