Crowding in juvenile custody facilities affects a substantial proportion of juveniles in custody


Many more juveniles were held in crowded secure public facilities in 1995 than in 1991

Crowding in juvenile facilities has increased as the juvenile custody population has grown. Since the vast majority of juveniles in custody are held in secure public facilities, such as detention centers and training schools, even small increases in crowding in these facilities affect a large number of juveniles.

In 1995 half of all public detention centers were operating above their design capacity. These crowded detention centers held nearly three-quarters of public detention center residents. In comparison, one-third of detention centers were crowded in 1991 and they held about half of detention center residents that year. The increased number of over-capacity public detention facilities affected an additional 7,400 residents -- a rise of nearly 75%.

The situation was much the same in public institutional facilities for long-term placements (such as training schools). Although the proportion of such facilities that were operating above their design capacity stayed constant (about 45% in 1991 and 1995), the number of residents held in crowded facilities increased substantially. Over-capacity public long-term institutional facilities held more than 70% of public long-term institutional residents in 1995 compared with 62% in 1991. There were an additional 10,000 residents in over-capacity training schools and other public long-term institutional facilities in 1995 -- an increase of more than 55%.

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Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1997 Update on Violence