The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense

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Justice Policy Institute (JPI)

States facing budget shortfalls could save millions of dollars while improving public safety by investing in community-based alternatives to the incarceration of juveniles, according to this research brief.

Approximately 93,000 juveniles are incarcerated in U.S. facilities at any given time – 70 percent of them in state-funded, post-adjudication, residential facilities at an average cost of $241 per day, the report says. It says states collectively spend about $5.7 billion annually to imprison youth, the majority of whom are held for nonviolent offenses.

The brief provides policymakers with frameworks based on existing, evidence-based strategies to guide them through budgetary decisions about access to treatment, probation policies and practices, and reducing the number of incarcerated, nonviolent youth by managing them safely in their communities.

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