By MATTHEW HALL
Capital News Service
LANSING – The number of juvenile delinquents committed to Michigan detention centers dropped 41 percent from 1997 to 2011, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit policy research group in Washington, D.C.
The trend mirrors a comparable drop nationally in the same period, said Ryan King, a research director with Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project. The reasons vary. “The real answer is that it’s a state-by-state story,” King said. “Nationally it’s hard to give a consistent answer, but the national drop seems to be a combination of state policy changes, a historic drop in juvenile arrests and, to a lesser extent, demographic changes.”
Policies that keep juveniles in their communities — instead of detention centers — are the top reasons why Ohio, Texas and Connecticut had the biggest drops, he said. Similar reasons are likely behind the change in Michigan, experts say.