State Demographics

In 1996, Utah's youth population under age 18 was approximately 678,800 (Casey Foundation 1998).

Approximately 3 percent of Utah's children were living in families with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level in 1995. Further, it is estimated that in 1995, approximately 21 percent of the State's children under age 13 were living in working-poor families or families where at least one parent was working 50 or more hours a week but the family's income was still below the poverty level (Casey Foundation 1998).

Utah ranked 12th in the country in terms of teen birth rate for 1995. This same year, the birth rate in the State was approximately 25 births per 1,000 young women ages 15-17. This was down from 27 births per 1,000 young women in 1985 (Casey Foundation 1998).

In 1994, approximately 4 percent (3,992) of students enrolled in the 10th through 12th grades in Utah's schools dropped out. Further, there were approximately 10,430 cases of child abuse and neglect reported in 1994 (Utah Children 1996, p. 1).

Overview of the Juvenile Justice System

Juvenile offenders under 18 years of age that are arrested and charged with a delinquent act in Utah are referred to the Juvenile Court. The Juvenile Court is divided into eight districts with 14 full-time juvenile court judges and one court commissioner. It is under the general supervision of the Supreme Court and handles abuse and neglect and delinquency cases (Utah Board of Juvenile Justice 1994, Sec. 2, p. 33).

The State Department of Youth Corrections is responsible for public safety and for providing a full range of appropriate placements and services for juvenile offenders. To this end, the Department of Youth Corrections operates home detention programs, case management services, observation and assessment services, and multiuse facilities (Utah Board of Juvenile Justice 1994, Sec. 2, p. 10). The State also operates ten secure preadjudicatory juvenile detention centers and three secure, long-term facilities designed to hold postadjudicatory juvenile offenders (Utah Board of Juvenile Justice 1994, Sec. 5, p. 6).

The Formula Grants Program in the State is handled through the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice and the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

Offense Patterns and Processing of Juvenile Female Offenders

The following statistics give an overview of the information available on female offending and processing patterns in Utah:

  • In 1992, young women represented 22 percent (1,877) of the youth admitted to detention (Poe-Yamagata and Butts 1996, p. 19; and Utah Board of Juvenile Justice 1994, Sec. 2, p. 32). Further, they represented 18 percent (296) of committed youth (Poe-Yamagata and Butts 1996, p. 19).

  • The number of female offenders placed in the State's Observation and Assessment Centers dropped from 10.5 percent in 1992 to 9.6 percent in 1993 (Utah Board of Juvenile Justice 1994, Sec. 2, p. 49).

Approach to Female Offenders

In 1996, the Utah State Advisory Group (SAG) used funding obtained through OJJDP's Challenge Activity E program to fund the following efforts:

  • Young Women's Living Center, Division of Youth Corrections. This program provides training in gender-specific services and the needs of adolescent females for staff of a new ten-bed wing for juvenile female offenders at the facility. Specifically, the training covers victimization, group work skills, relationship building, accessing community resources, and personal responsibility.

  • Juvenile Services Project at Your Community Connection. This program allows for 20 young women already being held at the Farmington Bay Youth Observation and Assessment Center to participate in a weekly group session regarding issues of female offenders. The group sessions are conducted by a licensed social worker, and the young women also have the opportunity to attend weekly classes taught by a University of Southern Utah Extension educator. Eventually, this program effort will also support the addition of a 90-day postrelease aftercare program.


Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1998. KIDS COUNT Online Data Service. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.

Poe-Yamagata, E., and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.

Utah Board of Juvenile Justice. 1994. Utah 1994-1996 Multi-Year Formula Grant Application. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.

Utah Board of Juvenile Justice. 1995. Utah 1995 Challenge Activity E Grant Application. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.

Utah Children. 1996. Utah Fact Sheet. Salt Lake City, UT.

Juvenile Female Offenders: A Status of the States Report October 1998