Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MassBudget: Unlocking Potential: The Cost and Availability of Juvenile Detention and its Alternatives in MA

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Unlocking Potential: The Cost and Availability of Juvenile Detention and its Alternatives in Massachusetts
MassBudget's new KIDS COUNT report explores budget trends for juvenile detention over time. It looks at newer alternative programs for kids entering the juvenile justice system, and compares costs across the detention continuum. Juveniles are in "Detention" when they are in custody of DYS before trial or before a probation violation hearing. Many such children are charged only with misdemeanors, and there is significant evidence that for many juveniles placement outside of a jail-like facility is at least as effective from a public safety perspective -- and better for the child. The report finds that there are significantly different costs for different types of placements:
  • Placement in a jail-like facility ("Secure Detention") is the most expensive.

  • A community placement in foster care is less than half the cost of a secure placement.

  • Alternatives to detention, which allow kids to receive services while at home, are even less expensive than foster care.
The report also finds that the number of alternative placements is increasing but that implementation has been slow and uneven. Read the report here.

companion KIDS COUNT report from Citizens for Juvenile Justice examines how and why detention is harmful to kids, the characteristics of children detained, and what alternatives to detention are working well in Massachusetts.  

National and state data on juvenile justice are available at the Kids Count Data Center. MassBudget's Children's Budget includes a section on juvenile justice. 
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

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