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Juveniles in Corrections


The most severe sanction that a juvenile court can impose entails the restriction of a youth's freedom through placement in a residential facility. Most often, such placement occurs after a youth has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense; however, a youth may also be held in detention after arrest or during court proceedings. In a few cases, jurisdiction over the youth might be transferred to criminal court, which then carries out processing and sentencing.

Out-of-home placement results in a great burden both on the youth who receive this sanction and on the juvenile justice system itself. The youth experience a disruption in their normal routines, schooling, and family/social relationships. The juvenile justice system must bear the responsibility for mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and education, among other requirements.

In developing its data collection efforts in this area, OJJDP acknowledged the importance of corrections for both maintaining the safety of the community and providing essential services to the youth involved. OJJDP annually surveys facilities that house these youth. In odd-numbered years, OJJDP administers the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP). This census gathers critical information on each youth in custody, including age, race, sex, and offense. In even-numbered years, OJJDP administers the Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC), which collects important information on facility services and characteristics.

This section draws on data from the CJRP and JRFC to answer a wide range of questions about youth in residential placement and the facilities that hold them. For example:

  • How old are most youth in residential placement?

  • What proportion of youth in placement are being held for violent offenses?

  • How do state placement rates vary by race/ethnicity?

  • What kinds of services are provided by youth residential placement facilities?

The latest numbers and historical trends, counts and rates, and data for the United States as a whole and for individual states are available on this site.


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