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Survey of Youth in Custody, 1987

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1988
In 1987, an interview survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,621 residents in 50 long-term, State-operated juvenile correctional institutions.

An estimated 60.5 percent of the respondents were between the ages of 15 and 17, 12.4 percent were age 14 or less, and 27.2 percent were 18 or older. Among all respondents, 93.1 percent were male. An estimated 53.1 percent were white, 41.1 percent were black, 18.9 percent were Hispanic, and 5.7 percent were American Indians, Asians, Alaska natives, or Pacific Islanders. About 70 percent of respondents did not live with both parents while growing up, and 54 percent reported having lived primarily in single-parent families. Among respondents, 39.3 percent were held for a violent offense, 45.6 percent for a property offense, 5.6 percent for a drug offense, and 7.2 percent for a public order offense. Just over 2 percent were confined for a status offense. Almost 43 percent had been arrested more than 5 times, with over 20 percent having been arrested more than 10 times. In addition, 82.2 percent had previously been on probation, and 58.5 percent had been previously institutionalized. The majority of respondents reported that their victims were male (58.1 percent), white (61.6 percent), and under age 21 (54.2 percent). Over 40 percent of victims were strangers, while approximately 12 percent were relatives. More than 80 percent of respondents reported prior illegal drug use, and almost 40 percent had begun using drugs before age 12. Finally, 47.6 percent reported being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense. 15 tables and 7 footnotes.

Date Published: September 1, 1988