Judicial Perspectives on the Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders in the United States with Recommendations for Policy and Practice
Published Jul 17, 2012, National Council of Juvenile and Family Courty Judges and Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Deinstitutionalization of status offenders (DSO) is one of the four core requirements of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Status offenses are offenses that only apply to minors whose actions would not be considered offenses at the age of majority, such as not attending school, running away, breaking curfew, and possessing alcohol or tobacco. Under the JJDPA, status offenders –with few exceptions – may not be held in secure detention or confinement. The DSO provision seeks to ensure that status offenders who have not committed a criminal offense are not held in secure juvenile facilities for extended periods of time or in secure adult facilities for any length of time.