An Empirical Portrait of the Youth Reentry Population

Howard N. Snyder

January 2004

Nearly 100,000 juvenile offenders are released annually from custody facilities following adjudication or conviction, arguably all candidates for reentry programs. Their numbers increased substantially over the 1990s. These youth have spent a great proportion of their teenage years in custody. Most are male, minority, and nonviolent offenders. About half lived primarily in a single-parent family while growing up. About one fourth has a sibling, and about one fourth has a father who has been incarcerated. Most have not completed 8th grade, compared to one fourth of similarly aged youth in the U.S. population. Excluding alcohol, two thirds report regular drug use. Two thirds of committed males have a mental health disorder and the rate is higher for females. The article concludes that the justice system cannot rely on others to provide the needed services if it ever hopes to control its own workload and reduce the problems caused by these youth.

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