Updated: Aug 27
This policy brief was created as part of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration. Below are the highlights and recommendations stemming from this brief, and the full text can be found downloaded below.
Even though incarcerating low-level offenders is associated with poorer public safety outcomes, many status offenders are detained under a Valid Court Order (VCO).
Some states use the VCO to detain status offenders as an accountability mechanism when there are concerns that the youth won’t comply with court-ordered sanctions in the community.
Youth adherence to court-ordered interventions can be strengthened by involving multiple, key stakeholders (e.g., parents, schools), incentives for compliance, and delivering interventions in school or home settings.
Avoid using detention as a mechanism to hold status offenders accountable.
Engage pre-court diversion services when possible.
Involve key stakeholders in monitoring and service delivery with youth.
Reinforce therapeutic engagement with contingency management strategies.
Provide judges with options for school- and home-based approaches for sanctioning status offenders.