Extension and Ag Research News


Fewer N.D. Youth in Juvenile Services Custody

The data indicates that the rate of juveniles in custody on a single day in North Dakota decreased by 23 percent during a 12-year period.

A KIDS COUNT data snapshot, “Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States,” highlights a dramatic decline in the rate of juvenile offenders confined in correctional institutions and other residential settings throughout the U.S. The report also shows no decrease in public safety.

The decline signals an opportunity to encourage the use of alternative and more effective responses for court-involved youth, according to the report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

According to North Dakota KIDS COUNT at North Dakota State University, the snapshot uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. The data indicates that the rate of juveniles in custody on a single day in North Dakota decreased by 23 percent during a 12-year period. Nationally, the rate dropped by 37 percent.

In North Dakota, the number of juveniles in custody reflects those in juvenile detention awaiting a court hearing or disposition (pre-adjudication) and those committed to the Division of Juvenile Services (post-adjudication) and placed in residential facilities or at the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan.

The snapshot, which follows the foundation’s 2011 report, “No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration,” indicates most states and the District of Columbia mirrored the national decline, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

“Locking up young people has lifelong consequences, as incarcerated youth experience lower educational achievement, more unemployment, higher alcohol and substance abuse rates and greater chances of run-ins with the law as adults,” said Bart Lubow, director of the Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group. “Our decreasing reliance on incarceration presents an exceptional opportunity to respond to juvenile delinquency in a more cost-effective and humane way and to give these youth a real chance to turn themselves around.”

In North Dakota, juvenile justice leaders have erected a broad continuum of services, supervision programs and dispositional options to supervise and treat youthful offenders to help them secure successful futures.

On a pre-adjudication basis, North Dakota has established alternatives to secure prisonlike juvenile detention through the development of nonsecure holdover sites known as Attendant Care, a best-practice option for low-level offenders.

For those youth in custody on a post-adjudication basis, placement decisions are made by balancing the principles of least restrictive, most appropriate placement with the need for ensuring safety. Community-based services are utilized to the extent possible to avoid out-of-home placement.

The new snapshot suggests several ways for states to continue promoting less reliance on incarceration and improve the chances of success for those young people involved in the justice system. These include restricting secure confinement to youth posing a clear risk to public safety; investing in alternatives that effectively supervise, sanction and treat youth in their homes and communities; and encouraging states to develop approaches that incentivize community-based alternatives to confinement.

“Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States” features the latest data for the country, District of Columbia and states, as does the KIDS COUNT Data Center at http://datacenter.kidscount.org/, which is home to comprehensive national, state and local statistics on child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.

NDSU Agriculture Communication – Feb. 27, 2013

Source:Karen Olson, (701) 231-1060, karen.olson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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