By Kapish Kalita
WASHINGTON, DC – Recent information released by the U.S. Dept. of Justice reveals the number of incarcerated youth in the juvenile justice system nationally fell to 24,894 in 2021, roughly the same as the prior year, and 60 percent less than 10 years ago.
“Given the many failures of youth incarceration, long-term declines are worth celebrating. However, the atypically low count for both 2020 and 2021 are likely a relic of the pandemic’s impact on youth offending and arrests rather than systemic reforms.”
Rovner added, “With more children staying at home, youth arrests fell during the pandemic, shrinking the pathways into detention and commitment.”
“Despite these declines in youth incarceration, roughly two in three incarcerated young people were held on nonviolent offenses. Permanent change requires minimizing the use of secure lockups for vastly more of our children and teenagers while supporting their needs at home,” Rovner noted.