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Delaware Juvenile Detention Facilities Population Review

NCJ Number
John P. O’Connell Jr.; Jorge Rodriguez-Labarca
Date Published
August 2010
12 pages
This report examines the relationship between a decrease in the juvenile institutional populations in Delaware and policy efforts which target the problem of juvenile offenders.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative along with the Delaware juvenile justice system leadership's initiative led to the lowest juvenile detention population reported in a decade. In March of 2010, the combined populations of both juvenile detention facilities: the New Castle County Detention Center in northern Delaware and the Stevenson House in southern Delaware reported a combined population of 77. This represents a 58 percent reduction from the peak juvenile detention population of 185 in September 2002. The March 2010 population of 77 was at 65 percent of the 119 bed capacity. In contrast, the 2002 population significantly exceeded the then detention capacity of 94 and registered at 166 percent of capacity rating. Juvenile arrests have not significantly decreased since 2002 thus ruling out changes in crime patterns as the explanation for the juvenile detention population decrease. However, juvenile arrests have not appreciably increased either, which also means that the decrease in the institutional populations has not created new public safety risks. A more plausible explanation is that juvenile population policy efforts that began with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2003 and renewed under the Juvenile Justice Collaborative (JJC) in 2009, have resulted in the Family Court, Justice of Peace Court, the Superior Court, the Attorney General, the Public Defender, and Youth Rehabilitative Services (YRS) in the Department of Children Youth and Their Families (KIDS) making decisions regarding admissions and movements of juveniles in detention facilities that have resulted in the reduced population. 8 charts, 6 citations and resources