Reducing Youth Incarceration Rates

In a report released last week, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) looked at efforts in Connecticut to lock up fewer young people who engage in delinquent behavior. The report, Youth Justice Reform in Connecticut: How Collaboration and Commitment Have Improved Public Safety and Outcomes for Youth, details how reform advocates helped transform a punitive and ineffective system into a national model.

Among the advocates mentioned in the report are Public Welfare Foundation grantees Connecticut Youth Justice Alliance, National Youth Justice Network, Campaign for Youth Justice, Center for Children’s Advocacy, Center for Children’s Law and Policy, and Center for Youth Justice Reform.

Another JPI report analyzed what worked in Connecticut and four other states – Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota and Tennessee – to reduce youth incarceration rates over a decade. That report, Common Ground: Lessons Learned from Five States that Reduced Juvenile Confinement by More than Half, analyzed various methods – from taking advantage of falling arrest rates and budget shortfalls to litigation initiated by youth advocates – to reduce rates of youth confinement by more than 50 percent from 2001 to 2010, with no increase in the juvenile crime rate.

The JPI reports also add context to a state-by-state comparison of youth incarceration rates – showing a 37 percent decrease nationwide from 1997 to 2010 – that was also released last week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Annie E. Casey Data Snapshot


The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

Stay Informed with our eNewsletter