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Common Ground: Lessons Learned from Five States that Reduced Juvenile Confinement by More than Half

This report is for anyone interested in the challenges associated with incarcerated youth. The Justice Policy Institute “discovered that adjusting funding schemes was just one of many successful strategies for juvenile confinement reform and, in fact, there are many states that have significantly reduced their juvenile confined populations without fiscal reform. States have initiated top-down policy changes, requiring police and courts to treat juveniles differently, resulting in fewer youth confined. Others have simply closed their state’s juvenile correctional facilities, forcing judges to adopt less restrictive responses to juvenile delinquency. What follows is a critical analysis of those elements that appeared to contribute to the greatest reductions in rates of confinement over the past decade” (p. 3). Sections of this report include: introduction; measuring reform-focus on juvenile confinement; the national perspective in confinement, 2001 to 2010; common elements among states that were the “top performers”; brief data analysis of these five states-Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Arizona; and recommendations.