North Dakota Is the Only State Sending More Kids to Group Homes

Over the last decade 49 states experienced a drop in the per-capita rate of delinquents required to live at correctional centers and group homes. But North Dakota saw an 18 percent rise during this period.

Across the country, many states are trying to slash the number of juvenile delinquents ordered to live in correctional centers, group homes and other facilities. Supporting this push, experts say, is clear evidence that shows most delinquents fare better when they can stay with their families and in their schools.

In line with this mindset, 49 states experienced a drop in the per-capita rate of delinquents required to live at such facilities, with more than half of states seeing a decline of over 50 percent from 2001 to 2013, according to a recent analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts, a national nonprofit group.

The only state bucking this trend was North Dakota. It saw an 18 percent rise during this period -- a time when juvenile arrest rates fell in North Dakota and around the nation.

North Dakota officials said they're not convinced that Pew's analysis, which uses data from a federal survey, is an accurate representation of the state's juvenile justice system. But they couldn't point to specific flaws in the data, which shows that North Dakota's rate of youth per 100,000 who were ordered to live in juvenile facilities climbed from 196 in 2001 to 231 in 2013.

 

Daniel Luzer is GOVERNING's news editor.