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Public Safety Gains Made Among DC Youth Offenders

Monday, August 5, 2013

Public Safety Gains Made Among DC Youth Offenders

Convictions and Arrests Down

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Director Neil A. Stanley released data today that demonstrates public safety gains have been made among youth in the agency’s care in the first half of 2013. Fewer DYRS-connected youth are being re-arrested, and fewer are being reconvicted. DYRS is DC’s juvenile justice agency responsible for those court-involved youth who are most in need of intense supervision and treatment services. 

Arrest Rates are Down

The strong public safety gains between 2011 and 2012 have been sustained through the first six months of 2013.  Fewer DYRS youth are being re-arrested and as a result DYRS youth represent a smaller portion of overall arrests in the District.  Comparing January through June of 2011 and 2013, the overall re-arrest rate for DYRS youth is down by 26%.  This is true across all major offense categories:

  • Violent offenses (-37%)
  • Robberies (-49%)
  • Drug offenses (-74%)
  • Public Offenses (-50%)
  • Property Offenses (-64%)

Even accounting for the decrease in the number of youth under DYRS supervision during this period, the trends in all of these arrest types outpace the population declines.   

Last year, fewer than half of all re-arrests of DYRS youth resulted in a re-conviction, which demonstrates the importance of considering final outcomes when using re-arrest data to measure public safety performance. Nevertheless, comparing arrest rates from year to year can provide a snapshot of change in new contacts with the justice system.

The strategy behind the numbers: To help reduce the likelihood that young people will re-offend, DYRS combines careful monitoring and supervision, comprehensive rehabilitative services, and continuous improvement of its public safety strategies. The District of Columbia is at the forefront of a national trend in positive, community-based services and placements for youth committed to a juvenile justice agency. Placing court-involved youth in the community with structured and comprehensive services and supports is a recognized method of keeping youth from re-offending, while increasing youth engagement in education and work.

Director Neil A. Stanley affirmed that, “We believe that the best, most effective way to rehabilitate youth is to minimize lock-up and to maximize community-based services and placements.” To date in 2013, DYRS has linked more youth to job training and jobs; helped more achieve their high school diploma or GED; made available community-based mental, behavioral, and physical health services; and strengthened family’s involvement with their youth’s treatment.

The DYRS 2013 Mid-Year Public Safety Update is available for download below.

 

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