Unbalanced Youth Justice

The Burns Institute is in pursuit of an equitable and excellent youth justice system. A system used sparingly and appropriately.  We know that our current youth justice system is not equitable, excellent, or used sparingly and appropriately. More than 47,000 youth were incarcerated on any given night in 2015, most (73 percent) for non-violent offenses. The majority (69 percent) of those incarcerated were youth of color.  Learn more »

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One-day count

Data in this section show how many youth are detained, committed, or otherwise sleeping somewhere other than their homes per orders of the court on "any given day" in select years. Data is available for the nation and on a state-by-state basis, and are based upon one-day counts of youth in residential placement facilities conducted in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Learn more »

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Year White Black Latino Native American Asian Other All youth of color All youth

Annual decision points

This section includes data at nine key juvenile justice annual decision points. Data are available at the county and state-level, but only for counties that report. This section allows you to view the data from many different angles and all of the data is broken down by race and ethnicity. Learn more »

Year

Data not available for every year. (Why?)

Available years are those for which states have submitted data to OJJDP. States do not submit data on an annual basis.

Case flow diagram

Click on a decision-making point to see the data for that point. Click additional decision-making points to the graph to compare.

  1. Youth population

  • 1Comparison of arrest to population is rate per 1,000 youth. All other annual decision points are rate per 100 youth at the prior decision-making point.
  • 2Due to differences in how states define arrests and referrals to court, some states may have more referrals to court than arrests.
Show table and download this data

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Decision White Black Latino American Indian or Alaskan Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Asian Other All youth of color All youth

12 of 14 counties (Why?)

Originally, states were only required to examine three counties: those with the greatest proportions of minority youth within their juvenile population, as well as those that contained the greatest numbers of minority youth. Only recently has OJJDP required that states track DMC data for all potential DMC reduction sites on a regular basis (at least every 3 years). If a county is not a DMC reduction site, data may not be available.

Detention statute

Juvenile courts may hold delinquents in a secure detention facility if the court believes it is in the best interest of the community or the child. After arrest a youth is often brought to the local juvenile detention facility by law enforcement. Juvenile probation officers or detention workers review the case and decide if the juvenile should be held pending a hearing by a judge.

Jurisdiction ages

  • 10–17
  • Extended Age of Delinquency Jurisdiction: 20

Age of detention

11–17

Standard for detention

If the court finds that a child alleged to be a child in need of services by reason of persistently refusing to obey the lawful and reasonable commands of his parents or legal guardian is likely not to appear at the preliminary inquiry or at the hearing on the merits, the court shall order the child to be admitted to such bail or to be released upon such terms and conditions as it determines to be reasonable. A child who does not post bail and is not otherwise released may be detained under such terms and conditions as the court may impose in a facility operated by or under contract with the department for the care of juveniles, provided that no such child is so detained for more than fifteen days without being brought again before the court for a hearing on whether such detention should be continued for another fifteen day period. If the court decides to so continue said detention, it shall note in writing the detailed reasons for its decision. Any child aggrieved by such decision shall have an immediate right to appeal to the superior court under the procedures set forth in section fifty-eight of chapter two hundred and seventy-six; provided further, however, that in no event shall any child be detained under this section for more than forty-five days. If a child fails without good cause to respond to a summons, the court may similarly admit the child to bail, or release the child upon conditions set by the court, or, if the child fails to post bail, and is not otherwise released, detain the child subject to the above limitations. Whenever bail is imposed under this section, the provisions of section fifty-eight of chapter two hundred and seventy-six shall be applicable.

Detention hearing timeline

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119 § 67.

Within the next day of entering the detention facility

Contact

Please email Anna Wong with any updates to contact information for your DMC coordinator, JJS coordinator, or DMC subcommittee chair.

DMC coordinator

Andrew Polk
Office of Public Safety, Programs Division
10 Park Plaza, Suite 3720
Boston, MA 2116
Phone: 617-725-3364
Fax: 617-725-0260
andrew.polk@state.ma.us

Website

JJS coordinator

Andrew Polk
Office of Public Safety, Programs Division
10 Park Plaza, Suite 3720
Boston, MA 2116
Phone: 617-725-3364
Fax: 617-725-0260
andrew.polk@state.ma.us

DMC subcommittee chair

There is currently no DMC subcommittee chair

Reform efforts

States that wish to post their most recent three-year plans or share other relevant publications about their reform work should contact Anna Wong. We would be happy to link to relevant documents and information.

DMC reform efforts

Burns Insitute Readiness Assesment

State plan

3-year plan

State Advisory Group (SAG)

The SAG in Massachusetts is the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC). The JJAC is charged with the responsibility to help coordinate juvenile justice and delinquency prevention efforts in the Commonwealth. The JJAC, along with other experts, give the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety input in developing a statewide plan for identifying and offering guidance on matters relating to delinquency prevention and overall child well-being. With Federal grant money and guided by issues raised in the statewide plan, the JJAC funds programs, projects, and activities that implement the JJDP Act's goals. In addition, the JJAC provides policy recommendations to the Governor and state legislators on juvenile justice matters. Other tasks include: maintaining an awareness of State and Federal laws pertaining to juvenile justice, understanding the flow of the juvenile justice system, and familiarization with juvenile facilities and programs.

SAG chair

Robert Gittens
Vice President, Public Affairs
Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617-373-5805
Fax: 617-373-5608
r.gittens@neu.edu
Website

Organizational structure

The JJAC comprises 15–33 experts in the area of juvenile justice and child welfare who are appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts. The experts represent various fields such as law enforcement, juvenile courts, private non-profit organizations, juvenile mental health workers, and public agencies concerned with delinquency prevention or treatment. The JJAC aims to have one-fifth of its members be under the age of 24 at the time of their appointment and at least 3 who have been under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system at some point in their life. A majority of the members cannot be full-time employees of Federal, State, or local government.

Committees

Alternatives to Detention
The Alternatives to Detention Subcommittee is charged with those activities related to researching effective detention alternative models and programs and tailoring them to Massachusetts.

Compliance Subcommittee
The subcommittee is responsible for reviewing the status and need for programming and improvements specifically directed to meeting the Four Federally mandated core requirements. The committee shall report to the JJAC on the status of compliance including violations that have occurred and make recommendations for funding improvements to eliminate these violations.

Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Members
The DMC Subcommittee is charged with those activities related to over-representation of minorities in the juvenile justice system and the development of effective programs and strategies to decrease disproportionate minority contact in Massachusetts.

Grants Review Members
This subcommittee is charged with those activities related to grant reviews, including but not limited to overseeing the proposal review process, and the review of grants. JJAC members rotate through this committee based on their availability and EOPS staff as well as peer reviewers also review grant applications. This subcommittee will submit recommendations to the full JJAC relative to funding guidelines, processes, proposals to be funded, and the amount of funding to be awarded.

Membership

  • Cecely Reardon, JJAC Vice Chair, Supervising Attorney, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Youth Advocacy Project
  • Lael Chester, Esq., Executive Director, Citizens for Juvenile Justice
  • Wesley Cotter, Chief Operating Officer, Key Program, Inc.
  • Glenn Daly, Director of Youth Development, Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., Esq., Director of Forensic. Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
  • Catherine Harris, Private Citizen
  • Roland Milton, Pyramid Builders, Inc.
  • Edward Dolan, Commissioner, Department of Youth Services
  • Gloria Y. Tan, Clinical Instructor, Harvard Law School, Criminal Justice Institute
  • Jeff Butts, Director of Public Funding, Boys and Girls Club of Boston
  • Bessie DiDomenica, MBA, Doctoral candidate, secretaryofinnovation.com
  • Rita Dixon, Private Citizen
  • Whitney Galusha, Private Citizen
  • Barbara Kaban, Director of Juvenile Appeals, Committee for Public Counsel, Youth Advocacy Division
  • Ken Smith, Executive Director, YouthBuild Boston
  • Jennifer Larson Sawin, Executive Director, Communities for Restorative Justice
  • Robert Riley, Private Citizen
  • Natalie Petit, Private Citizen
  • Cory Lanier, Private Citizen

About the data

Our website is populated by data provided to us by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Continue reading for details about the One-day count and Annual decision points data.

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Complete downloads of the data are available in several formats:

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Each table of data is also available for download. Click Show table below any table to download just the data shown.