This Bulletin provides policymakers with information that will help them to determine the appropriate space needed to accommodate the number of juvenile offenders expected to be placed in residential facilities.
Efforts to anticipate future space needs in juvenile detention and juvenile corrections facilities should involve more than an occasional analysis of juvenile arrest trends. Ideally, juvenile justice decision makers should anticipate future demands for space by engaging in a population forecasting process annually or semiannually. Forecasting involves statistical predictions of future corrections populations, but the results of such projections serve as the beginning of an agency's decision making process rather than the end. Forecasting encourages policymakers and practitioners to use statistical projections to reflect on recent trends and discuss their expectations of the future due to those trends. The accuracy of these expectations can then be reviewed during the next forecasting session. When projections fail to anticipate future conditions, forecasters should seek to explain why actual populations differ from projected populations. Decision makers then have the opportunity to learn about the effects of practice and policy actions that were not included in the projection. Over time, a forecasting process helps decision makers to anticipate the consequences of policies and practices regarding secure bed space without undue reliance on statistical analysis. A table describes models commonly used to project corrections populations. 6 notes and 10 references
Date Published: March 1, 2001