Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



May 2008

What to do with juvenile delinquents?

by Staff, on Deinstitutionalization, Jail and Lockup Removal, juvenile delinquents, OJJDP, Overrepresentation of minority youths, Segregation, teen issues, troubled teenagers

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ( OJJDP ), there are four anti-confinement mandates regarding juvenile custody. These are:

  • Deinstitutionalization: Youths charged with "status" offenses that would not be crimes if committed by adults, such as truancy, running away and being caught with alcohol or tobacco, must be "deinstitutionalized," which in this case really means that, with certain exceptions (e.g., minor in possession of a handgun), status offenders may not be detained by police or confined.
  • Segregation: Arrested youths must be strictly segregated from adults in custody. Under this "out of sight and sound" mandate, juveniles cannot be served food by anyone who serves jailed adults nor can a juvenile walk down a corridor past a room where an adult is being interrogated.
  • Jail and Lockup Removal: As a general rule, youths subject to the original jurisdiction of juvenile courts cannot be held in jails and lockups in which adults may be detained. The act provides for a six-hour exception for identification, processing, interrogation and transfer to juvenile facilities, court or detention pending release to parents.
  • Overrepresentation of minority youths: States must systematically try to reduce confinement of minority youths to the proportion of those groups in the population. Staff