More than 1 in 4 juveniles in public or private custody facilities were charged with a person offense
Over 108,700 juveniles were in detention, correctional, or shelter facilities on February 15, 1995
Juveniles held for law violations either as accused or adjudicated offenders made up 84% of the overall custody population on February 15, 1995, the reference day for the 1995 Children in Custody census of public and private detention, correctional, and shelter facilities. Those charged with delinquency offenses were 77% of the custody population; those charged with person offenses were 28% of the population. Nonoffenders, youth referred for abuse, neglect, emotional disturbance, or mental retardation, as well as voluntarily admitted youth (generally referred by school officials or parents or as part of a diversion program) were 16% of the custody population.
Of the 108,746 juveniles in custody, 69,075 (64%) were held in public facilities. Public facilities held the majority of offenders (74%). The majority of nonoffenders were in private facilities (94%).
Most juveniles in public custody are held for law violations as part of a court-ordered disposition
Virtually 100% of the 69,075 juveniles in public facilities on February 15, 1995 were held as accused or adjudicated law violators -- 96% for delinquency offenses and 3% for status offenses. Nonoffenders made up less than 2% of the public facility custody population. The majority of offenders in public custody were committed to the facility as part of a court-ordered disposition (65%). The remaining 35% were being detained prior to adjudication or after adjudication while awaiting disposition or placement.
4 in 10 juveniles in private custody are not offenders
Accused or adjudicated delinquents or status offenders account for 59% of the nearly 40,000 juveniles in private custody facilities on February 15, 1995. Those held for delinquency offenses made up 45% of the private custody population and those held for status offenses made up 14%. The vast majority of offenders in private custody were committed to the facility as part of a court-ordered disposition (91%). Juveniles who were detained prior to adjudication or after adjudication while awaiting disposition or placement made up the remaining 9% of offenders in private custody. The private facility population included a significant number of youth referred for abuse, neglect, emotional disturbance, or mental retardation as well as youth who were voluntarily admitted (referred by parents or school officials or as part of a diversion program). These nonoffenders were 41% of the private facility custody population.
The one-day count of juveniles held in public facilities rose 47% from 1983 to 1995
The number of juveniles held in public facilities increased substantially from 1983 through 1995. The increase was not evenly distributed across all offense categories, however. The number of juveniles held for Violent Crime Index offenses doubled. The broader category of person offenses (that includes such offenses as simple assault and kidnaping in addition to the Violent Crime Index offenses) more than doubled. The categories of drug and public order offenses also saw large increases. In contrast, there was a drop in juveniles held for property crimes and status offenses.
The average length of stay varied by facility type
Juveniles may experience more than one "stay" during the course of their disposition. For public facilities, the average stay per facility for juveniles in detention was 2 weeks and for committed juveniles it was 5 months. Juveniles in private facilities had an average length of stay of 3.5 months.
Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1997 Update on Violence