Despite Scare, Data Shows Youth-Led Crime Down Sharply
Monday, June 20, 2022
Crime rates among young people has dropped dramatically in recent decades - despite media coverage pointing toward a supposed "crime wave" led by youth.
That's the finding in a recent report from The Sentencing Project, which shows the share of overall arrests of people younger than 18 was cut in half between 2000 and 2019.
Deena Corso is the juvenile services division director for Multnomah County.
"The trend very much for juvenile crime nationally - and then it's mirrored here locally - has been sharp, sharp decreases in juvenile crime," said Corso. "And any efforts to have the pendulum swing back the other way would be not only detrimental to young people but also [contradictory] to public safety."
Corso said in Multnomah County, the number of crime referrals for young people has decreased from about 2,200 in 2011 to 500 in 2021.
In 2019, Multnomah County completed the Transforming Juvenile Probation Certificate Program, which emphasizes expanding diversion programs, decreasing probation conditions and increasing incentives that promote positive behaviors.
Richard Mendel authored The Sentencing Project report.
He said people should be skeptical of pushes for more punitive measures, especially when the data doesn't back up the need for it. He said locking kids up can have a detrimental effect that lasts long past youth.
"You take them away from school. You take them away from activities of rites of passage of adolescence," said Mendel. "And you surround them instead with incarceration with other troubled kids. And it's a negative dynamic that halts their natural progression to age out of these behaviors."
In 2019, Oregon lawmakers updated Measure 11, a voter-passed initiative from 1994 that led kids as young as 15 to be charged in adult courts. The updates roll back some of the tough-on-crime positions for young people.
Corso said we understand more about young people's brains now than we did when the measure passed.
"I am a firm believer in keeping kids in the kids' system," said Corso. "Meeting youth where they're at developmentally, the incredible capacity that young people have for change and habilitation or rehabilitation."
The Sentence Project report suggests states follow Oregon and not process youths in adult court. It also urges emphasizing diversion programs and hiring more counselors instead of police officers in schools.
JJIS Annual Reports the Oregon Juvenile Justice Information System (JJIS) 2021
Transforming Juvenile Probation the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform 2022
get more stories like this via email
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a plan extending a natural-gas pipeline in Virginia. The Virginia Reliability Plan and Transcot's …
Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when millions of Americans are expected to make charitable donations. But it can also be a field day for scammers…
Health and Wellness
Starting Friday, North Carolinians will have greater access to health care as the long-awaited Medicaid expansion is launched. Medicaid will …
A new project in Southern Arizona aims to support local reporting and enable greater access to local news and information. Earlier this month…
As the weather turns colder, two groups of people in one North Dakota city that are generations apart appear to be in good shape to navigate housing …
Researchers are out with new findings they say show that death rates linked to air pollution from coal plants are underestimated. A Wisconsin …
Illinois high school seniors have new hurdles to overcome to get to college. High school students are waiting several extra weeks to get their hands …
Clean-energy companies and supporters are calling on federal officials to prioritize the development of charging infrastructure for EV powered medium …