Project

Public Safety Performance Project

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Juvenile Justice

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.

Inmate behind fence
Inmate behind fence
Article

Juvenile Justice Reforms Could Reduce Pandemic's Impact

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Article

As COVID-19 spreads among youth and staff in juvenile correctional facilities, some states are moving to reduce confined populations. Although motivated by urgent health concerns, many of these policies are consistent with public safety research and reflect a continuing effort by state policymakers to decrease both incarceration and crime.

Issue Brief

Re-Examining Juvenile Incarceration

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Issue Brief

A growing body of research demonstrates that for many juvenile offenders, lengthy out-of-home placements in secure corrections or other residential facilities fail to produce better outcomes than alternative sanctions.

Article

How State Reform Efforts Are Transforming Juvenile Justice

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Article

Since 2012, a growing number of states have used data and research to inform sweeping policy changes that aim to improve juvenile justice systems. Their efforts include prioritizing use of detention and out-of-home placement for youth who present the greatest public safety risk, limiting the length of their confinement, reinvesting taxpayer savings to expand access to evidence-based services, and supporting community-based interventions for lower-level offenses.

Article

States Take the Lead on Juvenile Justice Reform

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Article

Juveniles in the U.S. are much less likely to be arrested for violent crime and committed to state custody than they were 15 years ago. From 2001 to 2014, the juvenile violent crime arrest rate fell 46 percent and, over roughly the same period, the rate at which youths were sent to state-funded facilities dropped 53 percent.

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