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Juveniles in Corrections
Juveniles in Adult Jails and Prisons
Q: How many youth age 17 or younger are held in adult jails?
A: On a typical day in 2018, about 3,400 persons youth under age 18 were inmates in jails in the U.S.

Jail inmates younger than age 18, 1993-2018

Year Number Percent held
as adults
1993 4,300 77%
1994 6,700 76%
1995 7,800 76%
1996 8,100 70%
1997 9,100 77%
1998 8,100 81%
1999 9,500 91%
2000 7,600 80%
2001 7,600 89%
2002 7,200 85%
2003 6,900 80%
2004 7,100 87%
2005 6,800 85%
2006 6,100 79%
2007 6,800 82%
2008 7,700 83%
2009 7,200 81%
2010 7,600 74%
2011 5,900 78%
2012 5,400 85%
2013 4,600 76%
2014 4,200 88%
2015 3,600 89%
2016 3,900 82%
2017 3,600 89%
2018 3,400 79%

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.

[ Graph version ]  [ CSV file ]

  • 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 55% by 2018.
  • Between 1993 and 2018, 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: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/corrections/qa08700.asp?qaDate=2018. Released on May 15, 2020.

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 2015-2018. Available from: https://www.bjs.gov/

 

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