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Racial and Ethnic Fairness
Detention rates declined for all race/ethnicity groups since 1997 yet the rates for Black, Hispanic, and American Indian youth exceed the rate for white youth.
Detained youth include those held awaiting a court hearing, adjudication, disposition or placement elsewhere. The detention rate is the number of youth in residential placement on the CJRP reference date per 100,000 youth age 10 through the upper age of original juvenile court jurisdiction. Rates exclude youth in tribal facilities.

*American Indian includes Alaskan Natives; Asian includes Pacific Islanders. Until 2006, the CJRP collected 6 detailed race/ethnicity categories (White, Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) and "other." In 2006, the CJRP data collection form replaced the "other" category with "Two or more Races" (labeled here as "more than one race"). Rates for the "more than one race" category are only displayed for 2010-present.

The ratio of rates is created by dividing the rates for each racial or ethnic minority group by the white rate. A ratio of 1.0 indicates parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison group are equal. For example, if white youth and Black youth were detained at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. A ratio greater than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial or ethnic minority group is greater than the rate for white youth. A ratio less than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial and ethnic minority group is less than the rate for white youth.

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    The COVID-19 pandemic, which began March 2020, had significant effects on all stages of the juvenile justice system, including juvenile residential facilities, and may have impacted multiple aspects of the 2021 CJRP data, such as reporting and the number of youth in residential placement.

  • Since 2010, the detention rate declined the most for Asian youth (70%), followed by Hispanic (69%), white (47%), Black (40%), more than one race (33%), and American Indian (17%) youth.
  • Despite these declines, detention rates for Black, American Indian, and Hispanic youth were higher than the rate for white youth. In 2021, the detention rate for Black youth was more than 6 times the rate for white youth, the rate for American Indian youth was nearly 5 times that of white youth, and the rate for Hispanic youth was about 1.3 times the rate for white youth.

  • See also: State-level detention rates by race.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/special_topics/qa11802.asp?qaDate=2021. Released on August 28, 2023.

Data Source: Analysis of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's. Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement data files for the years 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021.


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