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Delinquent Youth Committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services 2004-2011

NCJ Number
Akiva M. Liberman, Ph.D.; Jennifer Yahner, M.A.; John K. Roman, Ph.D.
Date Published
August 2012
23 pages
This report documents recent trends in the commitment of delinquent youth to the custody of the District of Columbia's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS).
From fiscal year (FY) 2006-07 to FY 2009-10, youth commitments to DYRS increased significantly, due largely to an increase in the number of delinquent youth committed for misdemeanors. In 2011, youth commitments to DYRS declined, mostly due to a decline in commitments for felonies. From FY 2006-07 to FY 2009-10, the number of youth committed for misdemeanors doubled from approximately 75 annually to approximately 150. These increased commitments were primarily for violent misdemeanors, but also for property and drug misdemeanors. Only a small percentage of the increase in youth commitments was due to probation revocations. Approximately half of those committed had prior adjudications on other cases. The increase in commitments was related to a considerable increase in the number of juvenile delinquency cases processed by the Family Court between 2005 and 2009. The number of these cases decreased after that period. It is not clear why the increase in commitments to DYRS was concentrated on youth adjudicated for misdemeanors. From 2006 through 2011, nearly 25 percent of youth committed to DYRS for misdemeanors had neither a prior adjudication nor were being committed for a probation revocation. It is not clear why youth without adjudication histories are being committed to DYRS as an initial disposition on a misdemeanor. This issue can be addressed only through a comprehensive study of juvenile case processing, using merged data for multiple agencies, including at least the court, Court Social Services, and DYRS. 16 exhibits, 11 references, and appended exhibit of commitments disaggregated by charge severity, probation revocation on the current case, and prior adjudication