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NCJ Number: 230214 Find in a Library
Title: Surveying Youths in Custody
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:71  Issue:6  Dated:December 2009  Pages:92-94
Author(s): Andrea J. Sedlak
Date Published: December 2009
Page Count: 3
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article summarizes findings on a few of the topics covered by the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP), which is the only national survey to collect data directly from youths in juvenile justice placement.
Abstract: One table presented shows the characteristics of youths in juvenile justice custody based on interviews conducted during the spring of 2003. The table presents the estimated number in custody nationwide, along with the numbers by sex, age, race/ethnicity, and living arrangement when taken into custody. Regarding offenses, only 5 percent of the youths in custody were true first-time offenders; 10 percent were previously in custody or on probation or parole; 85 percent had prior convictions; 57 percent had offended against persons. Forty-eight percent of the youths were below the grade level typical for their age. Regarding emotional and mental health problems, anger, depression, and anxiety were prevalent, and 30 percent had recent suicidal thoughts or feelings. Eighty-eight percent had used alcohol or drugs, compared to 61 percent of their age peers in the general population. Twenty percent lived in the same unit with other youth 3 or more years older than themselves. Most youths had future plans to find a job (84 percent); 80 percent will attend school; 68 percent aspire to go to college; and 73 percent expect to get married and have children (77 percent). In drawing implications from these findings, this article suggests improving the coverage of mental health services, improving substance abuse treatment, obtaining systematic information on youths’ educational needs and services in placement, avoiding housing juveniles with significantly older youth, and developing programs that address youths’ specific circumstances. The survey involved interviews of just over 7,000 youths between ages 10 and 20 in more than 200 facilities. 1 table and 11 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile inmates
Index Term(s): Inmate characteristics; Juvenile drug treatment; Juvenile drug use; Juvenile educational background; Juvenile educational services; Juvenile inmate statistics; Juvenile mental health services; Juvenile offense statistics
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