A shift in policies has led to a significant drop in the number of youth confined in state and county facilities nationwide, and New York has been identified as one of nine states that has seen the largest decrease in juvenile detention.
A report released by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) and the Texas Public Policy Foundation shows that 43% fewer youth were detained in New York State facilities in the period from 2001-2010.
NJJN director and study co-author Sarah Bryer says juvenile detention takes a toll on children by separating them from their families, schools and communities and increasing their exposure to violence. "The latest research shows that there is no increase in public safety for any stay over three months. So when we keep youth in the community and hold them accountable there in ways that keep them connected to their families, to their schools, to good, positive supports in their communities, we're actually improving public safety and keeping kids on the right track."
Bryer says a greater understanding of the development of the teenage brain and adolescent development, decline in youth arrests, effectiveness of evidence-based alternatives, and the growing cost of operating secure facilities paved the way for a new approach to juvenile justice.