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Jailing Juveniles: The Dangers of Incarcerating Youth in Adult Jails in America

NCJ Number
Neelum Arya
Date Published
November 2007
56 pages
This report presents the latest research about the risks youth face in adult jails, the number and characteristics of youth incarcerated in jails across the country, the lack of State and Federal laws protecting youth in jails, and concludes with recommendations for Federal, State, and county policymakers.
Every day in America, an average of 7,500 youth are incarcerated in adult jails. Despite the life altering consequences of incarceration in an adult jail, relatively little attention has been given to these youth. The purpose of this research report is to present an overview of the prevalence and dangers of juveniles incarcerated in adult jails and the inadequacies in the protection of youth incarcerated in adult jails under existing Federal and State laws. Concrete steps that Federal, State, and county policymakers can take to protect youth are presented. Highlights of these recommendations include: (1) update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act 's "jail removal" core protection for all children, regardless of which court (juvenile or criminal) they are in; (2) provide federal technical assistance to states and counties; (3) initiate and provide federal funding for new data collection efforts at the Federal, State and county levels; (4) update State statutes to prohibit the placement of youth in adult jails; (5) implement "model approaches" to removing youth from jails; and (6) initiate new data collection efforts and research on youth in the adult criminal justice system. Notes and charts