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The Comeback States: Reducing youth incarceration in the United States

Published Jun 18, 2013, National Juvenile Justice Network & Texas Public Policy Foundation

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In 2000, a record-setting 108,802 youth were held in detention centers awaiting trial or confined by the courts in juvenile facilities in the United States. In a dramatic turnaround, by late-2010, the number of  youth confined in state and county juvenile facilities  had plummeted by 39 percent to 66,322. This reversal erased a 63 percent increase in the number of confined youth that began in 1985, when 66,762 youth were  confined—an increase driven by highly publicized  increases in youth arrests, growing public concern  about youth crime, and state juvenile justice policies  favoring increased reliance on incarceration. This  report uses new federal data to document and analyze national and state incarceration trends.


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Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.