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Sentenced Prisoners Under 18 Years of Age in Adult Correctional Facilities - A National Survey

NCJ Number
H D Lowell; M McNabb; A J DeMarko; A Petras; J M Byrd; T Schiavoni; E Gadon
Date Published
77 pages
This survey provides data on the number of younger offenders incarcerated in adult prisons, the States which have large concentrations of such offenders, and the responsibility of these offenders for increased crime.
A review of the literature about youth sentenced to prisons and jails reveals that little is known about inmates under 18 in adult correctional facilities. This study presents a comprehensive 1-day accounting of the number of the inmates under 18 in adult prison systems nationally and presents data on the number of youthful inmates in the U.S. by State and region. It also provides comprehensive data pertaining to the age, sex, and most serious sentencing offense of all youthful inmates in prison and rates of imprisonment by 100,000 of the population at risk by region and State. Data collected from 525 responding jails include projections of the total numbers of sentenced youth under 18 in adult prisons and projections of the most serious sentencing offense category for youth under 18 in adult jails and detention facilities. Data were obtained through a questionnaire and telephone contacts were used to establish the location of the desired information within the adult correctional system and to establish accountability for compiling the data requested. Research found that the proportion of younger inmates in the total prison population has decreased slightly. Also, the most serious committing offense nationally for youth was a property offense more than 41 percent of the time, while crimes against people accounted for just 39 percent of the total. Regional comparisons show that the Northeast and West clearly have fewer youth offenders sentenced to jail. Appendixes provide data on youthful populations in State prisons, questionnaire forms, and a list of responding counties. Supporting data are found in tables, figures, and maps. Twenty references are given.