Report Reveals Claims of Youth Crime Wave Unfounded
Friday, July 8, 2022
New research has found reports of skyrocketing youth crime are not only unfounded, but are fueling calls for stricter punishments.
Data from the Sentencing Project showed the share of crimes in the U.S. committed by young people fell by more than half in the past two decades. It also decreased in all major types of offenses in 2020.
Michal Gross, an assistant public defender in Southern Maryland who works with youth, said the report affirms efforts in the state to decrease youth incarceration and increase the use of evidence-based treatment and other services focusing on addressing mental-health concerns.
"Some of it is that youths are not committing as many crimes," Gross noted. "When youths are involved in the juvenile court system, we are giving them age-appropriate and informed therapeutic interventions to help continue to decrease these numbers."
According to the report, juvenile detention and transfers to adult court can worsen youth outcomes. A 2020 report found Maryland was one of the worst states when it comes to automatically processing youths as young as 14 in adult court.
Gross encouraged reforms for deciding which offenders should go to adult court, along with investing in school mental-health resources such as counselors.
According to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, juvenile arrests in Maryland dropped by about 53% from 2010 to 2019.
Richard Mendel, senior research fellow for The Sentencing Project and the report's author, said national crime rates among kids and teens have been declining for years.
"Over the past 20 years, the share of arrests of kids under 18 has fallen by more than half," Mendel reported. "They continue to fall. A lot of this has been tied to the pandemic. The share of crimes that were committed by kids went down, and despite that, we're seeing this narrative of youth crime 'out of control.' "
The report only included data up to 2020, and its authors acknowledged future data may reveal youth crime rates have increased since then. However, they noted it would be understandable, given the mental-health impacts of the pandemic on kids. They concluded it should not serve as rationale for stricter juvenile-justice policies.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …
Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and toy drives around the country are in full swing. A North Dakota organizer shares some things to …
A federal judge in Nevada has dealt three tribal nations a legal setback in their efforts to stop what could be the construction of the country's larg…
Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association…
Reports from the Insurance Commissioner's office and the state Attorney General reveal an analysis of what they call "the true costs of health care" i…
Health and Wellness
The holiday season is filled with recipes passed down from years before, and feasting with family and friends. But think again before you have …
Connecticut lawmakers are reluctant to approve new emission standards that would require 90% cleaner emissions from internal-combustion engines and re…
While lawmakers and environmental groups strive to lower vehicle emissions and the nation's carbon footprint, many truckers see unrealistic …