A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform

2008 KIDS COUNT Essay

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

December 30, 2008

Summary

This report from a KIDS COUNT essay summarizes six key challenges for reforming the juvenile justice system in the U.S. for the benefit of youth, families and communities. Using case studies from states across the U.S., the report highlights strategies for success in reducing youth incarceration and recidivism. Information from this report was originally presented in the introductory essay for the 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Juvenile Justice Reform Is Possible And Necessary

The idea of making substantive reforms to the nation's broken juvenile justice system is daunting, but should not be viewed as an impossible task. Several promising projects in cities across the U.S. demonstrate that change ispossible, and in some cases can even generate cost savings over currend spending as well as many other meaningful benefits for youth, families and communities.

Findings & Stats

AECF Incarcerated Youth

Incarcerated Youth

Fewer than 25% of youth held in juvenile correctional facilities were charged with violent felonies.

AECF California

Success in California

California dramatically reduced both its rate of youth incarceration and violent juvenile crime.

AECF youth by race

Race Bias

African American youth are incarcerated at a dramatically higher rate than white youth, regardless of the type of crime.

Statements & Quotations