This study, required by Congress in its 1988 Amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, is the first nationwide investigation of conditions in secure juvenile detention and correctional facilities.
Using nationally recognized correctional standards as a gauge, researchers assessed how juvenile offenders' basic needs were met, how institutional security and resident safety were maintained, what treatment programming was provided, and how juveniles' rights were protected. Based on standards conformance and related outcome measures, researchers concluded that serious and widespread problems existed in the areas of living space, health care, institutional security and safety, and control of suicidal behavior. In important areas of treatment, rehabilitation, and education, the evaluation demonstrated the need for more rigorous assessment of how facilities are meeting juveniles' needs in these areas. The study found three areas in which conditions of confinement appeared to be generally adequate, i.e., basic needs such as food, clothing and hygiene; recreation; and, living accommodations. Juvenile corrections experts and youth advocates agreed to work together, and with OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention), in developing a national strategy to respond to the findings and recommendations cited in the study and to recent trends affecting conditions in juvenile facilities. A broad-based national consortium - consisting of many national professional organizations and governmental associations, national youth advocacy organizations, private foundations and other Federal agencies - is being formed to plan and promote long-term improvements in the conditions of confinement and services for juveniles in custody. The authors offer 19 recommendations for improving conditions in juvenile detention and correctional facilities for the OJJDP Administrator's consideration.
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: April 1, 1993