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Crowding in Juvenile Detention: A Problem Solving Approach Videoconference

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2000
21 pages
Publication Series
This information packet and videoconference examine crowding in juvenile detention with respect to its negative impacts, the issue of minority overrepresentation, efforts to address crowding, successful strategies, and profiles of three jurisdictions that have implemented promising practices.
Panelists included the acting administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the executive director of the National Juvenile Detention Association, a juvenile court judge, an attorney with the Youth Law Center, a juvenile detention center director, a probation agency director, a peer counselor, and the director of a State juvenile justice department. The overview noted that the National Juvenile Detention Association has issued a position statement explaining how the effects of crowding in juvenile detention are detrimental for youth, staff, and the community. In addition, each of the available options to address crowding has major short-term and long-term policy and financial implications for the local community. The discussion also noted that each jurisdiction needs to reach consensus regarding the purpose of its juvenile detention facility and that an important first step in reforming the system is limiting detention to the youth who pose a risk to public safety or who are unlikely to appear in court. Panelists advised a focus on juvenile detention as a process rather than a facility. They recommended that each jurisdiction create a core working group consisting of juvenile justice stakeholders and policymakers to institute comprehensive system reform. Recommended strategies included the development of a risk assessment instrument, the creation of a wide range of alternative program offering varying levels of supervision, and the use of expediters to work through formal and informal networks. Additional effective strategies include the acceleration of the transfer of youth committed to a State facility and increasing the likelihood of an attorney at the initial hearing. Sustaining reform efforts is also crucial. Jurisdictions that have established promising practices include Cook County, IL, Santa Cruz, CA, and Detroit, MI. Agenda, resource lists, panelist biographies, and related materials

Date Published: April 1, 2000