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Review Practices in Missouri

NCJ Number
Date Published
31 pages
This report presents the findings of a Missouri Juvenile Justice Review Committee investigation into juvenile detention practices along with recommendations to address problems such as separating juveniles from adult offenders, inadequate alternatives to detention, and poor coordination.
Many Missouri jails and lockups still do not separate juveniles from adult offenders. For example, during July and August of 1981, 66 juveniles were held in adult jails and lockups without sight and sound separation from adult inmates. The Committee strongly supports the need for Supreme Court Rules that provide uniform detention practices and protections for juveniles, but various juvenile courts apply these Rules inconsistently. This appears to stem from a lack of adequate distinction in the differing purposes met when detention is used for three different categories of juveniles. Furthermore, inadequate distinctions are also made in defining the difference between secure detention and a shelter care facility. This situation creates additional work for the courts to meet procedural requirements that are inappropriate and often places status offenders and abused/neglected children in overly restrictive settings. Local governments are the prime funders of detention services, and a wide variance in tax revenues promotes a lack of uniformity in available services throughout the State. Thus, the decision to place a juvenile in secure detention is sometimes made out of desperation rather than choice. There is a dearth of information about detention needs, the types of services which exist, and the circumstances involved in placing a juvenile in detention, as well as few measures of accountability. Finally, the Committee endorses the need for a statutory mandate that educational services be provided to children in secure detention and shelter facilities. Specific recommendations to correct these problems are presented. Also supplied are footnotes, 12 references, a map, and an executive summary.