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Youth who have contact with the juvenile justice system are at increased risk for a number of negative long-term outcomes—such as injury, substance use and dependency, dropping out of school, and early pregnancy—when compared with the general youth population (1, 2). Youth who have been detained also may face difficulty gaining the educational credentials they need to obtain sustained employment, and may be more likely to engage in criminal behavior as adults (3). Conditions that increase the likelihood of involvement with the juvenile justice system include family poverty, separation from family members including parental incarceration, a history of maltreatment, and exposure to violence in the home and community (2).
Additional risk factors for juvenile criminal activity are substance use or dependency, significant educational challenges, and mental illness (2, 4). Of the youth who enter California’s juvenile justice system, an estimated 30% have mental health issues (5). Youth who have been held in detention have higher rates of attempted suicide and psychiatric disorders than youth who have not been detained (3, 4, 6).
For more information on juvenile arrests, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. PolicyforResults.org. (n.d.). Prevent juvenile delinquency. Retrieved from: http://www.policyforresults.org/youth/prevent-juvenile-delinquency
2. Nellis, A. (2012). The lives of juvenile lifers: Findings from a national survey. The Sentencing Project. Retrieved from: http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/the-lives-of-juvenile-lifers-findings-from-a-national-survey
3. PolicyforResults.org. (n.d.). Reduce juvenile detention. Retrieved from: http://www.policyforresults.org/youth/reduce-juvenile-detention
4. Schubert, C. A., & Mulvey, E. P. (2014). Behavioral health problems, treatment, and outcomes in serious youthful offenders. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Retrieved from: http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=264515
5. Legislative Analyst’s Office. (2012). The 2012-2013 budget: Completing juvenile justice realignment. Retrieved from: http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/2562
6. Abram, K. M., et al. (2014). Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among detained youth. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Retrieved from: http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=265968
- Definition: Estimated percentage of teens ages 16-19 who are not enrolled in school (full- or part-time) and not working (full- or part-time). E.g., in 2015, 6.7% of California teens ages 16-19 were not in school or working.
- Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (Sept. 2016).
- Footnote: These estimates differ from estimates of “idle” youth on the Census Bureau’s website because American Community Survey estimates do not include youth who are not working but looking for work. Data are displayed for geographies with at least 65,000 people based on 2015 population estimates. These estimates are based on a survey of the population and are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. LNE (Low Number Event) refers to estimates that have been suppressed because the margin of error was greater than 5 percentage points. N/A means that data are not available.
- Definition: Estimated percentage of children ages 0-17 in living situations with incomes below their federal poverty threshold, by race/ethnicity (e.g., in 2017, 28.6% of African American/black children in California lived in poverty).
- Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (Sept. 2018).
- Footnote: The federal poverty threshold was $24,858 for a family of two adults and two children in 2017. Poverty status is not determined for some children; for details, see How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty. Race/ethnicity categories overlap (i.e., African American/black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American, multiracial, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander children can also be Hispanic/Latino); for more information, see Child Population, by Race/Ethnicity. Data are displayed for geographies with at least 65,000 residents based on 2017 population estimates. These estimates are based on a survey of the population and are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. The notation S refers to estimates that have been suppressed because the margin of error was greater than 5 percentage points. N/A means that data are not available. Some regions listed are Census Designated Places (CDPs), such as East Los Angeles; CDPs are communities within the unincorporated part of a county.