Is the Decline in Juvenile Incarceration Due to Reform or Falling Crime Rates?

databit201301Butts, Jeffrey A. (2013). Is the Decline in Juvenile Incarceration Due to Reform or Falling Crime Rates? Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2013-01]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.

Juvenile justice advocacy groups in the United States are celebrating the nation’s falling rate of juvenile incarceration. How do we explain this welcome trend? Some see it as evidence of reform, suggesting that cities and states around the country are handling more young offenders with community-based programs rather than with incarceration or other forms of out-of-home placement. Is this accurate?