New survey provides a glimpse of the youth reentry population.

Author:Sickmund, Melissa
Position::Research Notes

Based on data from the 1999 Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP) conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, it was estimated that nearly 100,000 juvenile offenders were released from custody facilities following conviction. (1) Preliminary analyses of the latest CJRP data show that the one-day count of juveniles committed to facilities following conviction has declined substantially since 1999. From 1999 to 2003, the committed population in custody on the census day dropped 10 percent from about 80,500 to fewer than 70,600. (2) Thus, the size of the juvenile reentry population is presumably smaller today than it was in 1999. Data from the 2003 CJRP and 2003 Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP) provide a current understanding of the characteristics of candidates for reentry programs.

Characteristics of Youth Reentry Candidates

With the 2003 CJRP, a demographic profile of youths who will become reentry program candidates can be developed. So as not to overrepresent the characteristics of youths with very long lengths of stay, the analysis focuses on committed youths who had been in a facility for four to six months. Using these data, the characteristics of the juvenile reentry population can roughly be described as the following:

* 57 percent of reentry youths come from public facilities operated by county or other local agencies, 45 percent from public facilities operated by state agencies;

* 43 percent of reentry youths come from privately operated facilities;

* 86 percent are male;

* 40 percent are non-Hispanic white, 38 percent are black and 18 percent are Hispanic;

* 12 percent are age 14 or younger, 44 percent are age 15 or 16, 44 percent are age 17 or older; and

* 34 percent were committed for a person offense (most likely simple assault), 32 percent for a property offense (most likely burglary), 10 percent for a drug offense, 10 percent for a public order offense, 10 percent for a technical violation of probation or parole, and 5 percent for a status offense.

More than half of these youths were held in public facilities with doors or gates that are locked day and night. More than one-third of these youths come from facilities that have living quarters, wings, floors or units that are locked for all youths day and night. The majority of facilities holding these youths said they provide on-site residential treatment (85 percent), most often mental health (63 percent) or substance...

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