This report explores the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Deep-End Initiative, which is helping juvenile justice jurisdictions safely and significantly reduce youth confinement — especially for young people of color.
In America today, youth of color are consistently overrepresented in courtrooms and detention centers, youth prisons and other residential institutions. This disparity is most extreme for youth in court-ordered institutions — often called the “deep end” of the system — and for youth transferred from juvenile to adult criminal courts.
Casey’s deep-end effort spans 12 demonstration sites across the United States. It employs intentional, data-driven strategies that move systems toward equity and specifically focus on youth of color. As part of this work, sites engage community organizations and community members to increase opportunities for young people of color in their own neighborhoods.
This document shares the initiative’s early results — and they’re encouraging. From their baseline years to 2018, participating sites collectively reduced out-of-home placements by 50% for all youth and 51% for African-American youth. During this same time frame, juvenile crime rates improved.
The Deep End Initiative builds on Casey’s flagship juvenile justice reform movement — Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative® (JDAI®) — which focuses on front-end reforms.
Deep-end sites support intentional, data-driven strategies that are helping to move systems toward equity
Findings & Stats
Big Picture Progress
Compared to their baseline years, deep-end sites confined at least 51% fewer youths in 2018 — and without compromising public safety.
Confinement Check: Ramsey County
Ramsey County, Minnesota, home to St. Paul, reduced its deep-end placements by nearly 60% since 2014, and African American youth accounted for 91% of this change.
A Safer Solution
Deep end sites reported lower rates of juvenile crime in the same timespan that they achieved a 50% reduction in confinement. From their baseline years to 2018, the number of cases being referred to court in their jurisdictions declined by 37% and the number of felony filings dropped by 20%.
Statements & Quotations
Deep end not only describes the range of residential institutions to which young people may be sentenced as a consequence of delinquency, status offenses or technical violations of probation, but also evokes the unfortunate reality that youth who are plunged into the deep end of the system often find it difficult to get out.
The deep-end work is part of a broader strategy to move juvenile justice systems from a culture of punishment and confinement to one that promotes creative and data-driven responses that lead to young people’s long-term success.