The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s first KIDS COUNT publication of 2013, "Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States," finds that the confinement rate of America’s young people is at a 35-year low. Despite the dramatic drop, the U.S. still leads the industrialized world in youth incarceration.
The number of young people in correctional facilities on a single day fell to 70,792 in 2010, from a high of 107,637 in 1995, according to the report. The rate of youth in confinement dropped by 41 percent over that same period. The decline occurred across all of the five largest racial groups, but significant disparities remain in youth confinement rates by race. African-American youth are nearly five times more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers and Latino and American Indian youth are between two and three times more likely to be imprisoned. These disparities point to a system that treats youth of color more punitively than whites, according to the report.
The data snapshot includes suggestions to reduce reliance on incarceration and encourages states to invest in community-based alternatives to incarcerating young people.
The data in the report are from the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), a survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau of juvenile residential facilities across the country. The most recent published results are from 2010.
To talk to an Annie E. Casey Foundation expert on juvenile justice, contact Sue Lin Chong, firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (410) 223-2836. To access data on national, state and local statstics on child well-being, visit the KIDS COUNT DATA CENTER.