Placing young people outside their homes disrupts family ties, undermines educational continuity and developmental trajectory, and can lead to long-term mental and physical health consequences.
This report by the Juvenile Law Center, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provides research and recommendations to support bringing Pennsylvania’s young people safely home from juvenile justice placements.
Pennsylvania's reliance on youth placement outpaces national averages
Findings & Stats
Gone Too Long
In 2018, 1,870 youth in Pennyslvania experienced out-of-home placements of more than 28 days as a part of a delinquency disposition. In fact, the median length of stay in out-of-home placement was
9.9 months, despite research indicating that stays longer than six months fail to reduce recidivism.
Home to...a Higher Confinement Risk
In 2015, Pennsylvania had 196 youth in juvenile facilities per 100,000 youth in the population, compared to the national average rate of 152 per 100,000. This means that Pennsylvania youth are 29% more likely to be confined than youth around the country.
Disparity Runs Deeper in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania in 2015, Black youth were 9 times as likely to be incarcerated, with Latinx and Native American youth experiencing a 3 to 1 disparity. Nationally in 2015, Black youth were incarcerated at a rate 6 times the rate of white youth, and Latinx and Native American youth were incarcerated at rates
of 2 to 1 and 3 to 1, respectively.
Statements & Quotations
Pennsylvania has more youth in private juvenile facilities than any other state.
Children should have – and deserve – opportunities to stay in or close to their communities, or if they are in the juvenile justice system, that it is supportive, safe, and rehabilitative.