Detention Reform in Rural Jurisdictions

challenges and opportunities

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

January 1, 2008


This report—the 15th installment in a series devoted to revolutionizing detention programs and practices in America—gives rural areas an expanded toolkit for overcoming the unique challenges associated with juvenile detention reform.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

The bad news? Rural communities must overcome a long list of obstacles when aiming for detention reform.

These challenges include: Smaller budgets, a shortage of subject matter experts, poor public transportation, overburdened staff, limited data capabilities and longer travel distances between point A and point B.

The really good news? These hurdles are no excuse for hesitation in undertaking juvenile detention reform. In fact, the Annie E. Casey Foundation discovered that when rural jurisdictions commit to change, meaningful progress isn’t just possible—it’s practically inevitable.

Findings & Stats

AECF Detention Reformin Rural Jurisdictions Table A 2008

Country Kid Versus City Kid

Rural youths are more likely to be poor and have a limited education relative to their city-dwelling counterparts. They are also more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs and be both unemployed and school dropouts. Yet, despite their remarkably different backdrops, rural and urban youths suffer the same emotional and behavioral problems—and they cross paths with the juvenile justice system at similar rates.

Statements & Quotations