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the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement: 1997-2013


Background [back to top]

The Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP) was administered for the first time in 1997 by the Bureau of the Census for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). CJRP replaced the Census of Public and Private Juvenile Detention, Correctional, and Shelter Facilities, also known as the Children in Custody (CIC) census, which had been conducted since the early 1970ís. The CJRP, which will be repeated biennially, provides the Nation with the most detailed picture of juveniles in custody ever produced. The CJRP asks juvenile residential custody facilities in the U.S. to describe each youth assigned a bed in the facility on the census reference date. The census is not sent to adult facilities, or facilities exclusively for drug or mental health treatment, or abused or neglected children.

The CJRP differs fundamentally from the CIC census. CIC collected aggregate data on juveniles held in each facility (e.g., number of juveniles in the facility). CJRP, instead, collects an individual record on each juvenile held in the residential facility, with information on the juvenile's gender, date of birth, race, placement authority, most serious offense charged, court adjudication status, date of admission, and security status. These data were requested for all offenders under 21 years of age in the facility. Facilities also provided information on the housing of overflow detention populations, physical layout of the facility, separation of residents, counts of residents age 21 and older, and the use of locked doors and/or gates.

Data collection methods [back to top]

The Census Bureau identifies juvenile residential facilities for court-involved offenders across the U.S. In late September the Census Bureau mails out a notification letter to all identified facilities indicating that the CJRP forms will soon arrive in the mail. The letter also indicates the reference date for the census and the type of information that will be requested. Respondents are given a contact number with the Census Bureau in case they have questions or problems.

A few weeks prior to the census reference date, the Census Bureau mails CJRP forms (2013 | 2011 | | 2010 | 2007 | 2006 | 2003 | 2001 | 1999 | 1997) to respondents representing nearly 4,000 public and private residential juvenile facilities. Some State and regional agencies provide CJRP data for more than one facility under their jurisdiction.

The CJRP allows for electronic submission of the data by larger facilities and central reporters. As part of this program, Census provides data specifications to participating respondents and a spreadsheet format so that these respondents can also complete the form through common spreadsheet programs such as Lotus© or Microsoft Excel©

Data are to be returned one month after the reference date. Facilities that have not responded within a few months are sent a reminder notice and asked that a completed response be sent in. Census staff begin telephone calls to the facilities that had not responded by that time. Census closes out data collection in mid-July. Processing of the data including error checks, imputation and editing continues until the following September.

Data are received and prepared for analysis at the Bureau of the Census facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Respondent questions were fielded by Government Division, Bureau of the Census.

The inclusion criteria for the census are as follows:

  • Younger than 21.
  • Assigned a bed in a residential facility at the end of the day on the census reference date.
  • Charged with an offense or court-adjudicated for an offense.
  • In residential placement because of that offense.

These juveniles are the universe for the data analyses in Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. Facility residents age 21 or older, and any nonoffenders are not included in Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement.

Facility response rate [back to top]

The Bureau of the Census (Census) mails out CJRP forms to all identified facilities. Of these facilities, some turn out to be closed on the reference date. A few additional facilities are identified as open on the reference date after the initial mailout (through responses from facilities or other contacts) and are subsequently sent forms. Of the facilities open on the reference date, some may be temporarily out of scope (i.e., they did not hold offenders on the reference date). Some facilities may be identified as permanently out of scope (i.e., they were not able to hold juvenile offenders over night). The remaining facilities are identified as in-scope. Of the in-scope facilities a small number may not send back the census forms nor respond to several phone calls from Census Bureau personnel requesting participation in the census. These facilities are designated non-respondents and the Census Bureau imputes responses for them. Using the number of in-scope facilities as a base, the CJRP facility response rate was 96% in 1997, 100% in 1999, 99% in 2001, 100% in 2003, 100% in 2006, 100% in 2007, 93% in 2010, 95% in 2011, and 92% in 2013.

Imputation [back to top]

Some facilities were not able to provide all the information requested for all juveniles meeting CJRP inclusion criteria. Roughly 1 in 6 records have had data imputed for one or more variables because information was missing. Data were imputed from complete records to fill in incomplete records. Therefore, reported CJRP estimates regarding the characteristics of juveniles in custody may differ from their actual characteristics. More detail on the imputation procedures is available upon request.

One-day counts versus population flow data [back to top]

CJRP provides 1-day population counts of juveniles in residential placement facilities. One-day counts give a picture of the standing population in facilities. One-day counts are substantially different from annual admission and release data, which give a measure of facility population flow.

Juveniles may be committed to a facility as part of a court-ordered disposition or they may be detained prior to adjudication or after adjudication while awaiting disposition or placement elsewhere. In addition, a small proportion of juveniles may be voluntarily admitted in lieu of adjudication as part of a diversion.

Because detention stays tend to be short compared with commitment placements, detained juveniles represent a much larger share of population flow data than of 1-day count data.

State custody counts and tables [back to top]

The only geographic information collected in CIC was the county and State in which reporting facilities were located. Consequently, CIC was not able to provide information on the number of juveniles in custody under the legal authority of courts in a specific State. For example, juveniles in private facilities in Pennsylvania could have been sent here by a court in another State. For this reason, CIC could only produce State custody rates for the population of juveniles held in publicly operated facilities (which almost exclusively hold only juveniles from that State). The CJRP, on the other hand, captures information on the State where the juvenile committed the offense. The State of offense is presumed to be the State that has jurisdiction over the juvenile (although this was not reported directly). Thus, the CJRP for the first time allows presentation of State-based custody rates that include juveniles sent to both public and private facilities.

State variations in upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction influence custody rates [back to top]

Although State custody rate statistics control for upper age of original juvenile court jurisdiction, comparisons made among States with different upper ages are problematic. While 16- and 17-year-olds constitute approximately 25% of the youth population ages 10-17, they account for more than 50% of juveniles in residential placement. If all other factors were equal, one would expect higher juvenile custody rates in States where older youth are under juvenile court jurisdiction. In addition to upper age of original juvenile court jurisdiction, differences in age limits of extended jurisdiction influence custody rates. States differ in how long they may keep juveniles in custody beyond the upper age of original juvenile court jurisdiction. Variations in provisions for transferring juveniles to criminal court also have an impact on juvenile custody rates. If all other factors were equal, States with broad transfer provisions would be expected to have lower juvenile custody rates than other States. (See the Juvenile Justice System Structure and Process section of OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book for State upper age, extended age and transfer provision information.) Demographic variations should also be considered when making jurisdictional comparisons. The urbanicity and economics of an area are thought to be related to crime and custody rates. Available bed space also influences custody rates. Bed space is particularly relevant to detention in rural areas.

Confidentiality protections [back to top]

By statute and regulation, OJJDP must protect the privacy of individuals included in its surveys. In the case of CJRP, OJJDP must assure that no juvenile can be identified from publicly available data, either tabular or electronic. To comply with this requirement, OJJDP has adopted a policy that requires all published table cells involving State level data be rounded to the nearest multiple of three. The table cells are rounded after the table has been produced from the underlying data. Each cell is rounded independently, without consideration to row or column totals. As a result, in many tables the internal cells will not add to the marginal totals. Rates and percentages presented from CJRP are based on rounded totals as well. More detail on OJJDP's privacy protection policy is available in "Disclosure Control in the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement" prepared by Joseph Moone, OJJDP Program Manager.

Population estimates [back to top]

The juvenile population data for 1997 and 1999 are derived from the National Center for Health Statistics' Bridged-race intercensal estimates of the July 1, 1990-July 1, 1999 United States resident population by county, single-year of age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. [Released 7/26/2004; Retrieved 9/15/2004]. Prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau with support from the National Cancer Institute. Available online from

Juvenile population data for 2001, 2003, 2006, and 2007 are derived from the National Center for Health Statistics' Intercensal estimates of the resident population of the United States for July 1, 2000-July 1, 2009, by year, county, single-year of age (0, 1, 2, .., 85 years and over), bridged race, Hispanic origin, and sex. [Released 10/26/2012; Retrieved 10/26/2012]. Prepared under a collaborative arrangement with the U.S. Census Bureau. Available online from

Juvenile population data for 2010 and 2011 are derived from the National Center for Health Statistics' Vintage 2012 postcensal estimates of the resident population of the United States (April 1, 2010, July 1, 2010-July 1, 2012), by year, county, single-year of age (0, 1, 2, .., 85 years and over), bridged race, Hispanic origin, and sex. . [Released 6/13/2013; Retrieved 7/1/2013]. Prepared under a collaborative arrangement with the U.S. Census Bureau. Available online from

Custody rates are calculated per 100,000 juveniles ages 10 through the upper age of original juvenile court jurisdiction in each State. Although in most States, juvenile courts have jurisdiction over the law-violating behavior of children younger than age 10, the number of juveniles younger than 10 in residential placement is not large enough to warrant the inclusion of younger age groups in the denominator of custody rate calculations.

Other cautions/limitations about CJRP data [back to top]

Juveniles held in adult facilities. CJRP does not capture data on juveniles held in adult prisons or jails; therefore, in the CJRP data, juveniles placed in juvenile facilities by criminal courts represent an unknown proportion of juveniles incarcerated by criminal courts.

Juveniles held in drug treatment or mental health facilities. CJRP does not include facilities exclusively intended for drug or mental health treatment even though such facilities may house some offenders. There may, however, be numerous juveniles in residential placement captured by CJRP that were receiving such treatment.

Data revisions [back to top]

Every effort is made to present the best, most accurate data in this application. From time to time this will result in changes to the data displayed for back years. For example, the rate statistics would change when revised population data are used in the rate calculations. When data were processed prior to the inclusion of 2003 data, errors were discovered in the 1997 and 1999 data files. In order to make the data compatible across all years, 1997 and 1999 data have been revised. The revisions did not have an equal impact on all States, but the result was a drop of about 1% in the total count of juvenile offenders in custody nationwide. Users who have printed or downloaded tables with 1997 or 1999 data may wish to capture that information with the revised data.

December 2011

With the release of the 2010 Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement data, counts of youth held in tribal facilities are not included in Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. As a result, U.S. totals across all years only include data from publicly and privately operated juvenile facilities and, thus, are reduced by the small number of youth in tribal facilities. There have been approximately 150 youth in tribal facilities on average.

Tribal facility data are not included for several reasons:

  • It has become evident that the data were not reported by a complete census of tribal facilities.
  • Issues were uncovered that raised concern about the application of imputation procedures to tribal facilities. Applying the "hot deck" approach used in the CJRP imputation procedures to tribal facilities is problematic because each tribal facility is unique and there is not an adequate donor pool.
  • U.S. totals should represent a census (with imputation and non-response adjustments).

Thus, the U.S. totals for all years have been restored to include data only from publicly and privately operated facilities.

Additionally it should be noted that for the first time in 2010 CJRP data were also reported by facilities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Territory data present many of the same issues that tribal facility data present. And for these reasons we have chosen not to include them in this release. We appreciate the participation of tribal and Territory facilities and applaud their efforts. We plan to provide both data reported by tribal facilities and facilities in the Territories in the future when we have a better understanding of the data and can present them in a meaningful way.

May 2011

With this release of the 2007 Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement data, Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (EZACJRP) and the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook have been merged into one data analysis tool. Going forward, the merged application will continue as "Easy Access to Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement," and it will include the ability to perform custom crosstabs along with the pre-defined tabular displays previously available from the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook. Use the tabs labeled "US & State Profiles" and "State Comparisons" to view the data tables previously available from the CJRP Databook.

Census reference dates [back to top]

The CJRP reference date is generally the fourth Wednesday in October. However, a set of unforseen circumstances prevented the 2005 and 2009 mailouts from taking place in October of each year. The census date for these collections took place in the following February. The census reference dates are listed below:

  • October 29, 1997
  • October 27, 1999
  • October 24, 2001
  • October 22, 2003
  • February 22, 2006
  • October 24, 2007
  • February 24, 2010
  • October 26, 2011
  • October 23, 2013