Updated on March 27, 2018     Skip to Main Content

JRFC Databook Juvenile Residential Facility Census Databook: 2000-2016




The Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC) was administered for the first time in 2000 by the U.S. Bureau of the Census through an interagency agreement with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The JRFC is designed to collect information about the facilities in which juvenile offenders are held. It is a mailed survey conducted on the fourth Wednesday in October in even numbered years. The JRFC asks juvenile residential placement facilities in the U.S. to document specific components of the environment of the facility. The census is not mailed to adult prisons or jails nor to facilities used exclusively for mental health, substance abuse, or for abused or neglected children.

JRFC is one component of OJJDP's efforts to describe both the youth placed in residential facilities and the environments of these facilities. The companion data collection to JRFC, the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), collects information from the same facilities that meet JRFC inclusion criteria. CJRP is conducted in odd number years also on the fourth Wednesday in October.

Data collection methods

In late September, the Census Bureau mails a notification letter to each identified facility indicating that the JRFC data collection forms will soon arrive in the mail. The letter describes categories of information requested on the form and indicates the census date in October on which JRFC data are to be captured. Respondents are also provided with an information telephone number for the Census Bureau should questions or problems arise when completing the census forms.

In mid-October, the Census Bureau mails JRFC data collection forms to respondents representing public, private, and tribal residential juvenile facilities. Some state and regional agencies provide JRFC data for more than one facility under their jurisdiction.

Data collection forms are to be returned by the end of November. In early January, facilities that have not yet responded are sent a reminder notice and asked to return the completed census forms by the end of January. All facilities that miss the January deadline are contacted via telephone by Census staff. The Census Bureau accepts data from the facilities until mid-July. Data processing, including error checks, imputation, and editing, continues until the following September. Data are received and prepared for analysis at the Census Bureau. The Governments Division of the Census Bureau handles respondent questions and concerns.

The JRFC inclusion criteria are the same as those applied to the CJRP:

Specifically excluded are: nonresidential facilities; detention centers operated as part of adult jails; facilities exclusively for mental health, drug abuse, or for dependent/neglected youth; foster homes; and federal correctional facilities (e.g., Immigration and Naturalization Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Marshalls, or Bureau of Prisons). It should be noted that while JRFC universe includes tribal facilities as well as facilities located in U.S. territories, records from such facilities are NOT included in this application.

JRFC does not capture data on juveniles held in adult prisons or jails; therefore, in the JRFC data, juveniles placed in juvenile facilities by criminal courts represent an unknown proportion of juveniles incarcerated by criminal courts.

JRFC does not include facilities exclusively intended for drug or mental health treatment, even though such facilities may house some offenders. However, numerous juveniles in residential placement for whom data are captured by JRFC may be receiving such treatment.

The JRFC questionnaire (2016 | 2014 | 2012 | 2010 | 2008 | 2006 | 2004 | 2002 | 2000) is divided into sections by topic area. A core set of questions relating to size, operation, ownership, classification, security features, and deaths are asked each census year. JRFC includes detailed questions about specific treatment services provided at the facility. The inclusion of these service questions varies over time:


Some facilities were not able to provide all of the information requested. In such cases, data are imputed from complete records to fill in incomplete records. Therefore, reported JRFC estimates regarding facility characteristics may differ from their actual characteristics and counts of juveniles in placement may differ from the actual counts.

One-day counts versus population flow data

In addition to capturing information about the residential placement facilities that hold youth, the JRFC also provides 1-day population counts of juveniles in these facilities. One-day counts give a picture of the standing population in facilities. One-day counts are substantially different from annual admission and release data, which give a measure of facility population flow.

State placement population counts

The information presented in the "U.S. & State Profiles" and "State Comparisons" sections is based on the state where the facility is located. As the focus of JRFC is on the facilities that hold youth, this collection only provides offender counts of juveniles held in facilities in a particular state, regardless of where the offense was committed. State-level data presented from JRFC's companion collection, the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), which collects information about the youth held in residential placement, is based on the state where the offense was committed (which is not always the same as the state where the facility is located). As a result, the juvenile offender counts shown in this application are not comparable to the counts derived from CJRP.

Facilities used for analysis

At the completion of the data collection cycle, the Census Bureau provides the National Center for Juvenile Justice with a data file that includes all responding facilities, herein referred to as "in-scope" facilities. Based on criteria established by OJJDP and NCJJ, some in-scope facilities are excluded from JRFC analysis, including:

Using the number of in-scope facilities as a base, the percent of in-scope JRFC facilities included in this application is: 83% in 2000, 84% in 2002, 86% in 2004, 87% in 2006, 86% in 2008, 84% in 2010, 84% in 2012, 83% in 2014, and 82% in 2016.

Confidentiality protections

By statute and regulation, OJJDP must protect the privacy of individuals and private facilities included in its surveys. In the case of JRFC, OJJDP must assure that no juvenile can be identified from publicly available data (either tabular or electronic) nor can any private facility be so identified. To comply with this requirement, this application applies suppression. To protect the identity of individuals, all state-level counts of youth in placement are rounded to the nearest multiple of three. The table cells are rounded after the table has been produced from the underlying data. Each cell is rounded independently, without consideration to row or column totals. As a result, in many tables the internal cells will not add to the marginal totals. Percentages shown in this application are based on rounded totals.

Second, to protect the identity of specific facilities, if the total number of facilities is greater than 0 and less than 5, no detailed data will be displayed. In addition, in tables showing facility operation (i.e., public or private) if the total number of private facilities in a given year is 1 or 2, no detailed data will be displayed.

Census reference dates

The JRFC reference date is generally the fourth Wednesday in October. The census reference dates are listed below:

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