According to Jessica Feierman, senior managing director of the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has seen a similar decline, but it has been uneven.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied a petition for rapid review and release of youths in detention, but directed judges statewide to consider the public health crisis in their decisions.
Nate Balis, director of The Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, says the COVID-19 pandemic may finally bring about a “right-sizing” of the nation’s juvenile detention system.
Balis notes that youths often are sent to secure detention for minor offenses that don’t pose a real threat to community safety.
Feierman says the Juvenile Law Center is working to release as many youths from detention as possible, and to ensure that those who remain have basic rights, including access to education, visitation and safe living conditions.
The Casey Foundation plans to continue conducting its monthly survey of juvenile detention facilities for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.