As issues swirl around in the media and in public discourse about juvenile justice—particularly around how the system handles some of the more serious youthful offenders—it is good to ground the discussion with some facts. The Juvenile Arrests in Wisconsin Fact Sheet is a simple way to check some of the major trends reported through 2015, including:
- Juvenile arrests continue to go down—a long-term trend, highlighted by the decline since 2011—at the state level and across most counties
- The decline has occurred in rural and urban counties and across racial groups
- The vast majority of juvenile arrests are for non-violent offenses
- There is quite a bit of variation in juvenile arrest rates across counties
We are encouraged by these trends and the importance of separating the facts from what may garner more attention in the media. Now is an opportune time to return 17-year-olds to the juvenile system and to close our remaining large juvenile correctional facility and increase support for community-based interventions that are proving to be effective across the state.
For a more comprehensive report on Juvenile Justice trends check out the full State of Juvenile Justice in Wisconsin report.
By Jim Moeser