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Empowered Youth


Facts and Figures



The following data from the 2006 National Juvenile Offenders and Victims  Report indicate that substantial proportions of the juvenile reentry population are likely to need extensive supervision and support services when they return to the community.

  • Few of these youth could be classified as “first-timers” in the juvenile justice system. Although most did not return to the system with more serious charges, 2 in 10 of those with a previous custody experience had increased the seriousness of their offending.
  • Most youth will return to live with single parents who may benefit from programs to help them supervise their children. Nearly three-quarters of these youth (71%) expressed multiple types of emotional problems and could benefit from mental health services upon their return home.
  • In addition, many of these youth are or will be parents themselves and could benefit from programs that teach parenting skills (e.g., home nurse visitation). Reentry programs need to address these and other factors that affect youth’s ability to succeed and become productive citizens.
  • Educational failure is linked to law-violating behavior.
  • If, as research has found, educational failure leads to unemployment (or underemployment), and if educational failure and unemployment are related to law-violating behavior, then patterns of educational failure over time and within specific groups may help to explain patterns of delinquent behavior.
  • In 2003, CPS agencies in the U.S. received an estimated 2.9 million referrals alleging that children were abused or neglected. An estimated 5.5 million children were included in these referrals. This translates into a rate of 39 referrals for every 1,000 children younger than 18 in the U.S. population.
  • Juvenile law-violating behavior is linked to family structure and to school/work involvement.
  • A recent study using data from NLSY97 explored the factors associated with a youth’s self-reported law-violating behaviors. One significant factor was a youth’s family structure. In general, the research showed that juveniles who lived with both biological parents had lower lifetime prevalence of law-violating behaviors than did juveniles who lived in other family types.
  • Poverty exerts much influence on family disruption (e.g., marital separation, divorce), which in turn has a direct influence on juvenile violent crime rates. He also found that family disruption had a stronger influence on juvenile violence than adult violence. Therefore, differential poverty levels are likely to influence juvenile crime trends.
  • Juveniles who were neither in school nor working had a significantly greater risk of engaging in a wide range of problem behaviors— using marijuana and hard drugs, running away from home, belonging to a gang, committing a major theft or a serious assault, selling drugs, and carrying a handgun.
  • Afterschool programs have more crime reduction potential than do juvenile curfews.
  • 1 of every 5 juvenile violent crimes (20%) occurs in the 4 hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on school days. A smaller proportion of juvenile violent crime (14%) occurs during the standard juvenile curfew hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Males accounted for most delinquency cases involving detention and were consistently more likely than females to be detained. When asked directly what led them to join gangs, 54% of Rochester gang members said they had followed the lead of friends or family members who preceded them, 19% said they did it for protection, and 15% said it was for fun or excitement.
  • The Census Bureau estimates that the number of Hispanic juveniles in the U.S. will increase 58% between 2000 and 2020.  This growth will bring the Hispanic proportion of the juvenile population to 23% by 2020 and to 31% by 2050.
  • In 2002, black juveniles and Hispanic juveniles were more than 3 times as likely to live in poverty as white juveniles.