Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Policy Brief: Youth Commitments and Facilities

  • Declines in Youth Communities and Facilities in the 21st Century

    "A major reduction has taken place in the number of teenagers committed to juvenile facilities in this century. At a time of increasing calls to cut the number of incarcerated adults by 50 percent over 10 years, the juvenile justice system has already attained this goal. Moreover, the decline has taken place without harming public safety" (p. 1). Information provided in this report includes: "Figure 1. Juvenile Facilities and Placements, 1997-2013"; "Table 1. Juvenile Commitment Changes by State, 2001-2013"; "Table 2. Juvenile Commitment Rates by State, 2013"; "Figure 2. Youth Commitment Changes by State, 2001-2013"; "Figure 3. Youth Commitment Rate per 100,000 by State, 2013"; racial and ethnic disparities; "Table 3. Black/White Commitment Rates per 100,000 Juveniles, 2011"; one in three juvenile facilities have closed since 2002; "Figure 4. Number of Juvenile Offenders by Size of Facility, 1997-2013"; "Figure 5. Percent of Juvenile Offenders by Size of Facility, 1997-2013"; and concluding remarks. "Reductions in juvenile offending combined with common-sense policy changes have led to large reductions in the number and percentages of teenagers in large state facilities and generally in confinement ... Confinement should be used sparingly and briefly, and only as a last resort. For serious offenders, a successful program should be intensive and address teenaged aggression, focusing on rehabilitation to keep them in confinement only as long as they are a threat to public safety" (p. 6-7).