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 »

Use the tools below to explore this issue »

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 »

Show table and download this data

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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 »


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

Click column headers to sort Download

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

100 of 100 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

  • 6–15
  • Extended Age of Delinquency Jurisdiction: 20

By statute, when a juvenile is committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for placement in a youth development center for an offense that would be first degree murder, first degree rape, or first degree sexual offense if committed by an adult, jurisdiction continues until terminated by order of the court or until the juvenile reaches age 21, whichever occurs first. If the offense would be a Class B1, B2, C, D, or E felony if committed by an adult (other than the offenses listed above), jurisdiction continues until terminated by order of the court or until the juvenile reaches 19, whichever occurs first.

Age of detention:

  • 10–15
  • Extended Age of Detention: 17

Standard for detention

(a) When a request is made for nonsecure custody, the court shall first consider release of the juvenile to the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or other responsible adult. An order for nonsecure custody shall be made only when there is a reasonable factual basis to believe the matters alleged in the petition are true, and that:

(1) The juvenile is a runaway and consents to nonsecure custody; or

(2) The juvenile meets one or more of the criteria for secure custody, but the court finds it in the best interests of the juvenile that the juvenile be placed in a nonsecure placement.

(b) When a request is made for secure custody, the court may order secure custody only where the court finds there is a reasonable factual basis to believe that the juvenile committed the offense as alleged in the petition, and that one of the following circumstances exists:

(1) The juvenile is charged with a felony and has demonstrated that the juvenile is a danger to property or persons.

(2) The juvenile has demonstrated that the juvenile is a danger to persons and is charged with either (i) a misdemeanor at least one element of which is assault on a person or (ii) a misdemeanor in which the juvenile used, threatened to use, or displayed a firearm or other deadly weapon.

(2a) The juvenile has demonstrated that the juvenile is a danger to persons and is charged with a violation of G.S. 20-138.1 or G.S. 20-138.3.

(3) The juvenile has willfully failed to appear on a pending delinquency charge or on charges of violation of probation or post-release supervision, providing the juvenile was properly notified.

(4) A delinquency charge is pending against the juvenile, and there is reasonable cause to believe the juvenile will not appear in court.

(5) The juvenile is an absconder from (i) any residential facility operated by the Department or any detention facility in this State or (ii) any comparable facility in another state.

(6) There is reasonable cause to believe the juvenile should be detained for the juvenile's own protection because the juvenile has recently suffered or attempted self-inflicted physical injury. In such case, the juvenile must have been refused admission by one appropriate hospital, and the period of secure custody is limited to 24 hours to determine the need for inpatient hospitalization. If the juvenile is placed in secure custody, the juvenile shall receive continuous supervision and a physician shall be notified immediately.

(7) The juvenile is alleged to be undisciplined by virtue of the juvenile's being a runaway and is inappropriate for nonsecure custody placement or refuses nonsecure custody, and the court finds that the juvenile needs secure custody for up to 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays, or where circumstances require, for a period not to exceed 72 hours to evaluate the juvenile's need for medical or psychiatric treatment or to facilitate reunion with the juvenile's parents, guardian, or custodian.

(8) The juvenile is alleged to be undisciplined and has willfully failed to appear in court after proper notice; the juvenile shall be brought to court as soon as possible and in no event should be held more than 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays or where circumstances require for a period not to exceed 72 hours.

Detention hearing timeline

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1906.

  • Within 5 calendar days if the juvenile is held in secure custody.
  • Within 7 calendar days if non-secure.


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

DMC coordinator

Paul Lachance
Governor's Crime Commission
Phone: 919-899-9193


JJS coordinator

Paul Lachance
Governor's Crime Commission
Phone: 919-899-9193

DMC subcommittee chair

Chief Rodney Monroe
Asst. Janet Jones

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

Working with four demonstration counties (Guilford, New Hanover, Union, and Forsyth) to provide resources, technical assistance, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of programs and activities designed to reduce DMC in these jurisdictions.

State plan

There is no link available to current State Plan

The North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is developing an uniform data collection system which will allow for accurate collection of data disaggregated by race; this data is to be collected at the decision points which would allow for an accurate measurement of possible disparities in decision-making.

North Carolina is increasing the awareness of disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system and educating the public, juvenile justice professionals, as well as the full Governor's Crime Commission through conference presentations, development of print materials to be disseminated, and use of technical assistance resources available through the federal government

State Advisory Group (SAG)

The Juvenile Justice Planning Committee (JJPC) is the longest standing committee of the Governor's Crime Commission (GCC). In 1977, when Governor James B. Hunt Jr. formally established the Crime Control Division (G.S. CH 143B-477, renamed the "Governor's Crime Commission Division" in 1979) from the Law and Order Committee, he kept the Juvenile Justice Committee intact. In 1998, Governor's Crime Commission members recommended restructuring the committees based on trends and issues in the both adult and juvenile crime. The Juvenile Justice Committee was divided into two committees- delinquency prevention and juvenile crime intervention. The two committees re-merged in 2001 to form the Juvenile Justice Planning Committee.

SAG chair

James Blanton
Forward questions through JJS Paul Lachance

Organizational structure

The Juvenile Justice Planning Committee is a diverse group of professionals and private citizens with expertise and experience in a number of disciplines impacting juvenile justice.


  • Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Funding Recommendations


  • Robert Jenkins, JJ Committee Chair, Cumberland County CommuniCare, Inc.
  • Linda Hayes, GCC Chair
  • Graham Atkinson, Surry County Sheriff's Office
  • David Adams, Youth Member
  • Andrew Epperson, Youth Member
  • Carrah Franke, Youth Member
  • J.C. Cole, District Court Judge, Hertford, NC
  • James C. Foyles, Baptist Home for Children
  • Corey Duber, Education
  • Tim Farley, School Administrator, Mount Airy City Schools
  • Shelly Holt, Juvenile Court Judge
  • Worth Hill, Durham County Sheriff's Office
  • Jean Irvin, Director, Forsyth Council for Children and Families*
  • Ashley Klein, Youth Member
  • John Ward, Cape Fear Community College
  • Sandra Reid, Elon University
  • Frank B. O'Hale, Youth Member
  • Kristin H. Ruth, District Court Judge, Wake County
  • Marguerite Peebles, NC Department of Public Instruction
  • James Pierce, Jr., Kid's Making It Woodworking Program, New Hanover County
  • Teresa Price, Rockingham County Youth Services
  • Joshua Ryan, Youth Member
  • Olaf Thorsen, Court Counselor, Brunswick County
  • Jane Volland, Guardian Ad Litem
  • Michelle Zechmann, Durham County Mental Health

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.


Complete downloads of the data are available in several formats:

Download the data »

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