Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Corrections Previous Page
Youth in Adult Jails and Prisons
Q: How many youth age 17 or younger are held in adult jails?
A: On a typical day in 2021, about 2,000 persons youth under age 18 were confined in jails in the U.S.
Note: All estimates are based on mid-year, i.e., the last weekday in June.
"Percent held as adults" includes juveniles who were tried or awaiting trial as adults.
  • From 1993 to 1999, the number of youth under age 18 held in adult jails more than doubled; this was followed by a 36% decline through 2006. After a period of increase through 2010, the population of youth under 18 in jails fell 74% by 2021.
  • Between 1993 and 2021, the proportion of jail inmates younger than 18 who were held as adults ranged between 70% and 91%.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on January 10, 2023.

Data Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear series for 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, & 2004; Jail Inmates at Midyear 2014, and the Jail Inmates series for 2015-2021. Available from: