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Juveniles in Corrections
Youth in Adult Jails and Prisons
Q: How many youth age 17 or younger are held in state prisons?
A: Fewer than 300 youth age 17 or younger were under the custody* of state prisons at the end of 2021.
*Custody refers to prisoners held in the physical custody of state prisons, regardless of sentence length or authority that has jurisdiction.

N/A: data not available.

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  • The number of youth under age 18 in adult prisons fell 93% between 2000 and 2021.
  • Since 2000, between 3% and 4% of inmates under 18 in the custody of state prisons were females.
  • From 2000 to 2005, the number of inmates under 18 in state prisons decreased 43%. The count increased 24% to 2,743 youth under age 18 held in state prisons by 2009, and then decreased 90% through 2021.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/corrections/qa08701.asp?qaDate=2021. Released on January 10, 2023.

Data Source: Adapted from Carson, E. Ann and Mulako-Wangota, Joseph. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (Reported number of inmates age 17 or younger held in custody in federal or state prisons, December 31, 2000-2019). Generated using the Corrections Statistical Analysis Tool (CSAT) - Prisoners. Available from www.bjs.gov. Retrieved June 21, 2019. Data for 2020 adapted from Carson, E. (2021). Prisoners in 2020 - Statistical Tables. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Data for 2021 adapted from Carson, E. (2022). Prisoners in 2021 - Statistical Tables. Bureau of Justice Statistics.


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