January 6, 2020

Fewer Young People Are Residing in Juvenile Justice Facilities

The number and share of young people living in juvenile detention, correctional or residential facilities in the United States continued to decline through 2017, according to the latest data.

The federal resource known as Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (EZACJRP) indicates that in 2017, based on a one-day snapshot, 43,580 people younger than 21-years-old lived in juvenile detention, correctional or residential facilities. That’s a reduction of more than 4,000 young people compared with 2015. There was also a drop in the rate, from 152 young people per 100,000 in 2015 to 138 per 100,000 in 2017. This figure was 355 per 100,000 in 1999; it has fallen in every two-year measurement cycle since then.

The rate of incarceration of young people per 100,000 has fallen consistently in most, but not all, states. Between 2015 and 2017, the rate increased in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Wyoming. The highest rates seen in 2017 were in Wyoming (302 per 100,000), West Virginia (280 per 100,000) and Alaska (263 per 100,000); the lowest were in Connecticut (27 per 100,000), Vermont (33 per 100,000) and North Carolina (46 per 100,000).

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is deeply invested in building a more effective and equitable youth justice system through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative® and other juvenile justice reform work so that all young people are able to thrive and grow into responsible adults, even when they make mistakes and violate the law in serious ways.