Trends and Policy Developments in Juvenile Justice

The last few years have yielded promising trends in key juvenile justice indicators, as well as policy developments. Based on figures from the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), overall rates of intake and detention of juveniles are down considerably from five years ago. 

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Florida’s counties have a vested interest in juvenile intake and detention rates—section 985.6865, Florida Statutes, provides that counties (excluding those which are fiscally constrained or provide their own detention programs) must split the costs of detention with DJJ. In other words, as detention rates fall, so should total county cost-sharing obligations.

For more information on the specific county by county figures, refer here: Florida County Detention Cost Sharing | Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (

Several bills are moving through the legislature this session with both positive and negative implications for juvenile offenders.

CS/SB 7040 – Time Limitations for Preadjudicatory Juvenile Detention Care by Appropriations Committee extends the time limit for which a juvenile may be detained in a supervised release program from 21 days to 60 days, and provides for electronic monitoring of juvenile offenders. Additionally, a hearing to show good cause to extend the detention period must be conducted every 21 days (current law specifies nine days) for both supervised release and secure detention of a juvenile. This bill could have an alarming impact on the total number of detention days if passed.

CS/SB 342- Juvenile Diversion Program Expunction by Sen. Perry provides that a juvenile may have their records expunged following completion of a diversion program for a non-forcible felony offense. Additionally, the juvenile may lawfully deny or neglect to acknowledge their participation in said diversion program. Current law only provides for expunction for misdemeanor offenders.

This bill passed unanimously in both chambers last year, however, it was vetoed by the Governor, who cited concerns of expunging serious felonies, such as sexual battery from a juvenile’s record. 

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Source: Delinquency Profile Dashboard: Delinquency Profile Dashboard | Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (