A growing body of research shows that costly, extended, out-of-home placements for young people found to have committed a crime generally fail to reduce recidivism. Rather than spend between $75,000 and $200,000 per child annually for disappointing results, policy leaders are increasingly advancing options to reduce youth crime and incarceration.
Since 2012, The Pew Charitable Trusts has worked with nearly a dozen states to apply data and research in support of sweeping juvenile justice policy changes. These state efforts include prioritizing detention and residential placement for only those young people who pose the greatest public safety risk, limiting the length of such confinement, reinvesting savings to expand access to evidence-based services, and supporting community-based programs for lower-level offenses.
Pew’s research and experience can help inform the work of leaders, stakeholders, and advocates in other states who want to enact reforms that protect public safety, ensure accountability, and reduce the footprint of the juvenile justice system.