Findings From the Philadelphia Detention Utilization and Planning Study

Across the country, juvenile detention systems have been experiencing tremendous pressures including population increases, facility crowding, litigation, and a wide range of forces not directly under its control. In turn, juvenile justice officials have come under increasing pressure to develop policies and procedures to effectively manage detention resources now and into the future. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency has a longstanding reputation of helping jurisdictions use research-based evidence to effectively plan for bed space needs, alternative programs, and other issues. NCCD has worked with approximately 43 communities to implement the juvenile justice planning process called the Comprehensive Strategy to Address Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Delinquency. What follows are the findings from an approach NCCD designed to help juvenile justice officials evaluate current detention utilization patterns, the projected needs for secure beds, and various program options. The overall goal of our work is to create a detention system that protects public safety and increases court hearing compliance while taking into account practical constraints and the welfare of the young people our systems handle.