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Youth Incarceration Drops Dramatically in Arizona

Arizona’s rate of confining young people in secure facilities has dropped by 57 percent over a 13-year period while crime rates have continued to fall, according to a new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Youth Incarceration BadgeThe new KIDS COUNT data snapshot, Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States, reports that the number of young people in secure juvenile facilities in Arizona on a single day fell to 1,092 in 2010, from 1,869 in 1997. This downward trend, documented in data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, was faster in Arizona than in all but two states in the country.

This trend is good news for kids, public safety, and taxpayers. Research repeatedly shows that a high rate of youth incarceration is both expensive and ineffective in reducing recidivism, especially for youth who have never committed a violent offense. 

Arizona leaders in the courts, juvenile corrections, behavioral health and community-based youth services are working together to keep this positive trend going and make sure the right kids get to the right services at the right time. One current effort focuses on improving outcomes for youth who are in both the juvenile justice system and the foster care system. Arizona also participates with The Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to develop more effective options for kids who need help.

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