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NCJ Number: 136741 Find in a Library
Title: Reducing Juvenile Detention Rates or Expanding the Official Control Nets: An Evaluation of a Legislative Reform Effort
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:38  Issue:2  Dated:(April 1992)  Pages:204-218
Author(s): C E Frazier; S R Lee
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 15
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Reform-oriented juvenile justice laws, designed to reduce the number of juveniles subject to official control, often have the opposite effect and actually place a larger population under State control. A recent change in Florida's juvenile detention law is analyzed in terms of its impact on the population of the State's secure detention facilities.
Abstract: The Florida law mandated that detention be used for juveniles only when less restrictive placement alternatives are not appropriate. Decisions to detain juveniles are to be made only in cases where there is a danger to the offender or to the community, a risk the offender will not appear in court, or the likelihood that the juvenile will commit another offense. However, the failure of the legislation to distinguish between secure detention and home detention has the potential to actually widen the net of State control over juvenile offenders. An analysis of data on juvenile crime rates and arrests, social economic characteristics, the severity of juvenile crime, and rates of juvenile detention revealed that the new law has had a negligible effect on Statewide juvenile detention levels. On the other hand, some Florida officials were apparently aware of the dangers of net widening and took steps to prevent it. It seems that factors other than those reflecting the rate and severity of juvenile crime -- for example, urbanization and associated formal bureaucratic practices -- play a substantial role in determining detention rates. 4 tables, 1 figure, 2 notes, and 23 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Juvenile detention rates; Juvenile justice reform
Index Term(s): Florida; Juvenile detention standards
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