Juvenile status offenders
This report looks at the significant overrepresentation of minority youth among juvenile status offenders. Sections of this publication includes: issue background; the need to focus on non-delinquent youth; addressing disproportionality among status offenders; new data on status offenses and disproportionality; and implications for juvenile justice reform.
<p>“Youth who run away from home, routinely skip school, and engage in other risky behaviors [status offenses] that are prohibited precisely because of their young age are acting out in ways that should concern the adults in their lives. They need appropriate attention—but not from the juvenile justice system” (p. 1). Sections of this report discuss: the rise and fall of status offense cases handled in court (1995-2010); common status offenses—truancy, liquor law violations, runaway, ungovernability, and curfew violations; why courts are poorly suited to deal with status offense cases; what the characteristics are of an effective community-based approach for assisting youngsters charged with status offenses; whether community-bases responses work—yes if done well with examples being in Florida, New York State, Calcasieu Parish (Louisiana), Rapides Parish (LA), and Clark County (Washington State).</p>
“’Why are girls so much more likely than boys to be petitioned and incarcerated for a status offense?’ This brief explores the complex answer to this question, and previews steps that can be taken to unravel, understand, and better address the complex needs of girls who engage in status offense behaviors” (p. 1). This is an excellent resource for people who work with girls who are status offenders. Sections of this publication cover: the prevalence of status offenses for girls; how different expectations of girls lead to a double standard; the need for gender-responsive services; defiance or self-defense; girls, structural racism, and implicit bias; the pathways girls take into the juvenile justice system are different from boys—they need different interventions not the same ones for boys painted pink; judicial leadership in Nevada; moving toward a less punitive and more empowering approach; and implications for further juvenile justice reform.
This special report offers a primer on status offenses—misbehaviors that are only illegal because of a person’s age and that unfairly land many kids in the justice system.
Horowitz, Jake, and Arna Carlock
Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project (Philadelphia, PA)
“Percentage of youth in residential facilities for truancy, running away, or supervision violations increases … States send less than half as many youth to residential facilities as they did in the late 1990s, but new data from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention show that many juveniles in out-of-home placements were not confined for serious and violent crimes.”