Changing Course in Youth Detention: Reversing Widening Gaps by Race and Place

The Annie E. Casey Found. (2023).

The Annie E. Casey Foundation undertook a three-year analysis from January 2020 to January 2023 of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on juvenile detention rates. The analysis concluded with three main findings: 1) Black youth were ten times more likely to be detained than white youth in 2023; 2) the number of Black youth in detention in 2023 surpassed pre-pandemic levels because Black youth are released at a much slower pace than before; and 3) the Midwest region (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) had the largest increase in detention rates since the pandemic and the Northeast region had the highest racial and ethnic disparities in detention rates. This data analysis highlights the dire need for detention reform, especially in light of the deteriorating conditions of juvenile detention facilities across the nation. To that end, this report recommends increasing the use of diversion, expanding access to detention alternatives, building relationships with community-based organizations, and responding to surging racial disparities by pursuing strategies that eliminate the disproportionate detention of Black youth. This resource equips youth defenders with current data on the widening racial disparities in detention rates and highlights practical recommendations for closing the gap.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Policy Tool, Resource Library
Tags: Detention, Diversion, Harms of Incarceration, Racial and Ethnic Disparities