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COVID-19 in Juvenile Facilities

May 29, 2020
Josh Rovner
It is vital to relieve crowding in juvenile facilities in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Sentencing Project is tracking COVID-19 positive diagnoses among youth and staff at juvenile facilities and the number of known cases in each state.

The novel coronavirus has infected over a hundred young people living in juvenile facilities, as well as the staff who work in those facilities. It is vital to relieve crowding in juvenile facilities in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. This can be accomplished by enacting reforms that better serve the needs of young people, such as releasing low-risk youth (as in Fresno County, CA), and the release of adjudicated youth in Colorado.

Roughly 70 percent of incarcerated youth are held on non-violent offenses; their incarceration is often unnecessary and counterproductive. Many other youth, who pose little threat to public safety, can be released to community supervision and supportive services, as well. 

Congregate care settings, like residential treatment facilities and juvenile detention centers, make social distancing difficult, if not impossible. Common treatment for infectious diseases in residential settings may include solitary confinement, a particularly traumatic experience for young people.

This page (updated daily) shows the growth of COVID-19 positive diagnoses among youth and staff at juvenile facilities where tests have been reported. Along with reducing the number of youth in confinement, The Sentencing Project supports widespread testing within facilities, following the lead of New Jersey, where all confined youth will be tested for COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Diagnoses in Juvenile Facilities: Known Cases
512 youth, 618 staff as of May 29

 

COVID-19 Diagnoses in Juvenile Facilities: Youth Cases

 

COVID-19 Diagnoses in Juvenile Facilities: Staff Cases

 

The Sentencing Project welcomes your assistance in making sure this information is as accurate as possible. Please forward information about COVID-19 infections in juvenile facilities to Josh Rovner, Senior Advocacy Associate, at jrovner@sentencingproject.org.

 
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