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Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2012: Selected Findings
By U.S. Department of Justice: Sarah Jockenberry, Anthony Sladky and Medlissa Sickmund
Published: 06/01/2015

Youth in rec yard

A Message From OJJDP

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s biennial Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC) collects information about facilities in which juvenile offenders are held. Respondents provide information about facility characteristics, including facility type, capacity, and type of security. JRFC also reports the number of youth who were injured or died in custody during the past 12 months.

This bulletin provides findings from the 2012 survey. The juvenile offender population dropped 14% from 2010 to 2012, to the lowest number since 1975. For the first time since 2000, more offenders were in local facilities on the census day in 2012 than were in state-operated facilities.

The 2012 JRFC data also describe security features that facilities use. Overall, 43% of facilities lock youth in their sleeping rooms at least some of the time. Among public facilities, 79% of local facilities and 61% of state facilities reported locking youth in sleeping rooms. Few private facilities (11%) locked youth in sleeping rooms.

Together, JRFC and its companion survey, the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, which describes the demographics of youth in custody, allow corrections officials, juvenile justice professionals, youth advocates, and policymakers to monitor conditions of confinement and ensure that the nation’s juvenile residential facilities are safe and that youth in custody receive the necessary treatment and services.

Robert L. Listenbee

The Juvenile Residential Facility Census provides data on facility operations

Facility census describes 2,547 juvenile facilities

In October 2012, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) administered the seventh Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC). JRFC began in 2000 with data collections occurring every other year.

JRFC routinely collects data on how facilities operate and the services they provide. It includes detailed questions on facility security, capacity and crowding, injuries and deaths in custody, and facility ownership and operation. The census also collects supplementary information each year on specific services, such as mental and physical health, substance abuse, and education.

JRFC does not capture data on adult prisons or jails, nor does it include facilities used exclusively for mental health or substance abuse treatment or for dependent children. Thus, JRFC includes most, but not all, facilities that hold juvenile offenders. The reporting facilities may also hold adults or “nonoffenders,” but data were included only if the facility held at least one juvenile offender on the census date.

The 2012 JRFC collected data from 2,547 juvenile facilities. Analyses in this bulletin were based only on data from facilities housing juvenile offenders on the census date (October 24, 2012); 1,985 facilities were included in the analyses. Excluded from the analyses were data from 7 facilities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, 18 tribal facilities, and 537 facilities that held no juvenile offenders on that date.

The 1,985 facilities housed a total of 57,190 offenders younger than 21 on the census date. This represents the fewest juvenile offenders in residential placement since the 1975 Children in Custody Census (the predecessor data collection to the JRFC and its companion collection, the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement). There were 52,726 juvenile offenders in juvenile facilities reported to the 1975 Children in Custody Census. From 1975 to 2000, these data collections recorded larger and larger 1-day counts of juvenile offenders in public and private residential placement facilities. From 2000 to 2012, those increases have been nearly erased.

To view the full report click here.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking.

This bulletin was written by Sarah Hockenberry, Research Associate, and Anthony Sladky, Senior Computer Programmer, with assistance from Melissa Sickmund, Director at the National Center for Juvenile Justice, with funds provided by OJJDP to support the National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Project.


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