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Racial and Ethnic Fairness
Detention rates declined for all race groups between 1997 and 2015; the rates most minority youth exceed the rate for white youth.
Detained juveniles include those held awaiting a court hearing, adjudication, disposition or placement elsewhere. The detention rate is the number of juvenile offenders in residential placement on the CJRP reference date per 100,000 juveniles 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.

Minority group includes black, Hispanic, American IndiaNAlaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander youth, and those identified as other race.

The ratio of rates compares the rates of each minority group to white youth. A ratio of 1.0 indicates statistical parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison groups are equal. For example, if white youth and minority youth were placed at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. When the ratio exceeds 1.0, the rate for the minority group exceeds the rate for white youth; when it is below 1.0, the rate for minority youth is less than the rate for white youth.

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  • Between 1997 and 2015, the detention rate declined the most for Asian youth (85%), followed by Hispanic (59%), white (54%), black (42%), and American Indian (41%) youth. Combined, the rate for minority youth declined declined 54% during this period.
  • Despite these declines, the detention rate for minority youth in 2015 was more than three times the rate for white youth.
  • In 2015, the detention rate for American Indian youth was three times that of white youth, up from a ratio of 2.1 in 1999.
  • The relative rate of detention for black youth compared to white youth remains the highest (6 times that of white youth in 2015).

  • 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=2015. Released on August 07, 2017.

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, and 2015.


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