The National Council on Crime & Delinquency recently published a report indicating that there has been a significant decrease in the number of juvenile incarcerations. The report attributes this success to bi-partisan legislative efforts such as the following:
• Shifting the responsibility of youth from state to county agencies, including incentives for those changes
• Removing some lesser crimes from the list of categories that make one eligible for state incarceration
• Using research to inform best practices
• Urging stakeholders to make legislation goals that put youth in settings that are the least restrictive
Even with the overall positive changes to juvenile incarceration, youth of color still represent disproportionately more of those who are formally supervised and who are in state detention centers. The report indicates that systematic changes need to be made including the development of effective supervision strategies and guaranteed legislation funding for community research organizations.
Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School