Youth Detention and the Pandemic


The data from Casey’s month­ly sur­vey dur­ing this peri­od offer an unpar­al­leled glimpse into hun­dreds of juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems around the coun­try. The Foun­da­tion observed sig­nif­i­cant and con­cern­ing changes — espe­cial­ly for Black youth:

  • As of Jan­u­ary 1, 2023, Black youth were almost 10 times more like­ly to be detained than their white peers. Pri­or to the pan­dem­ic, Black youth were detained at more than six times the rate of white youth.
  • The over­all deten­tion pop­u­la­tion rose to its pre­vi­ous lev­el, with the pop­u­la­tion of Black youth sur­pass­ing its old lev­el. Even though the rate of admis­sions to deten­tion cen­ters is still much low­er for Black, His­pan­ic and white youth than it was before the pan­dem­ic, the pop­u­la­tion has rebound­ed and even sur­passed its pre-pan­dem­ic lev­el for Black youth.
  • Local dif­fer­ences in the use of deten­tion have increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly. When com­par­ing the third of sites with the biggest increas­es in deten­tion over the past three years to the sites with the biggest decreas­es, the data showed one group had slashed its use of deten­tion by almost 30% while the oth­er had a 60% increase.
  • Sur­vey juris­dic­tions in the Mid­west have had the largest increas­es since the pand­me­ic. A com­par­i­son of trends by region shows that sur­veyed sites in the Mid­west, which already had high­er rates of deten­tion than those in oth­er regions before the pan­dem­ic, had a deten­tion rate 60% high­er than those in oth­er regions in Jan­u­ary 2020. Three years lat­er, that gap had grown to 80%.


Comments are closed.