Forecasting Secure Bed Space for Young Offenders in the District of Columbia

The Urban Institute’s Program on Youth Justice was asked to assist District officials in creating a process that could be used to anticipate future demand for secure bed space for young offenders.

The project was funded by the court-appointed monitor of the District of Columbia’s consent decree in Jerry M. v. D.C., a lawsuit about the care and treatment of juvenile delinquents.

Acting on behalf of the D.C. Children’s Trust, the Office of the Monitor asked the Program on Youth Justice to work with local officials to create a forecasting process that included but was not limited to statistical analyses of demographic and law enforcement data. By incorporating the non-quantitative knowledge of policymakers, administrators, and practitioners in the new forecasting process, the process was designed to be sensitive to expected trends in policy and practice, which often have as much effect on the demand for bed space as do changes in arrests and court cases.

The project was designed to facilitate the development of a new forecasting process, but the process itself was to be carried out by a diverse group of local officials. With assistance from the Urban Institute, members of the group worked together to create population projections using Juvenile Forecaster, a free, Internet-based forecasting tool developed by the Program on Youth Justice. [website is no longer available]

Project Staff
Jeffrey Butts, PI
Daniel Mears
Sinead Keegan
Megan Schaffer

$50,000. Office of the Jerry M. v. D.C. Court Monitor, and the District of Columbia Youth Services Administration.

Jeffrey A. Butts and Daniel P. Mears (2002). The Limits of Crime Data for Predicting Confinement Space. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Final Report
Jeffrey A. Butts and Daniel P. Mears (2004). Results of an Effort to Develop a Policy-Sensitive Forecasting Process to Anticipate Future Needs for Juvenile Confinement Space in Washington, D.C.. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.