This report presents selected findings from the 2002 Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC), a biannual survey on how juvenile facilities operate and the services they provide, with attention to facility security, crowding, injuries and deaths in custody, facility ownership and operation, and services offered.
From 2000 to 2002, 36 States held 13 percent fewer juvenile offenders, attributed largely to a 7-percent decline in juvenile arrests. In most States, custody rates in public facilities were higher than in private facilities; in 11 States, however, the custody rate for private facilities was higher. Local facilities (those staffed by county or municipal employees) constituted more than half of all public facilities but held just under half the number of juvenile offenders who were held in public facilities. State facilities held more youth, although during the course of a year, more juveniles spent time in local facilities than in State facilities, because the majority of local facilities are detention centers, where juveniles stay for relatively short periods of time. Stays are generally longer in State facilities. Group homes outnumbered all other types of juvenile facilities, composing 38 percent of all facilities and holding 12 percent of all juveniles in custody. Facilities varied in their degree of security, with 32 percent of them reporting locking youth in their sleeping room at least some of the time. The degree of security increased with facility size. Large facilities were most likely to be State operated. Many juvenile offenders were in facilities with more residents than standard beds; this was more likely to be the case in public facilities than private facilities. Eighty-one percent of juveniles in custody had been screened for suicide risk, and few facilities experienced suicides or serious attempts. In 5 of 10 facilities, in-house mental health professionals evaluated all youth for mental health needs. Extensive tables, 3 references, and annotated listings for 9 publication resources