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OJJDP COVID–19 Guidance: State Juvenile Detention and Correctional Facilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2020
2 pages

This report suggests state juvenile justice strategies for addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


This report advises that releasing youth from correctional facilities into the community without linking them to local healthcare providers, the means to make payment for services, or transportation to healthcare services leaves youth vulnerable to COVID-19 without access to healthcare services. In addition, families largely confined to their homes face increased stress, which poses the risk for reoffending among youth released back into their families. Thus, youth require comprehensive reentry services and well-defined, structured schedules when returning to their families and communities. Each state should determine, in each case, whether it has the resources to provide the level of supervision and support necessary for the youth they choose to release. Correctional facilities are well-equipped to help youth practice social distancing, good hygiene, and other positive health practices that reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. States must still comply with the four core protections necessary to receive Title II funding, i.e., deinstitutionalization of status offenders, adult jail removal, sight and sound separation, and addressing racial and ethnic disparities.