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Myths vs. Facts


Visit this page to learn more about commonly held myths and misperceptions about Florida’s juvenile justice system.
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Myths VS Facts

This page corrects some commonly held myths and misperceptions about Florida's juvenile justice system. Click on each myth for the facts and links to research and documentation.


Myth:

"High Needs" youth are better served in deep-end or intensive placements, such as residential facilities.


Fact:

Front-end community-based services are more effective for low risk to re-offend youth that are "high needs".

 

Research and Documentation:

Myths vs. Facts: High-Needs Youth

 

Briefing Report - The Risk Principle

Myth:

The risk assessments used by DJJ—the Community PACT and the Residential PACT—are not valid predictors of risk.


Myth:

Youth served by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice are Repeat Violent Offenders.


Fact:

Less than 9% of the youth served by FDJJ are serious, violent, and chronic offenders.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Juvenile Offender Seriousness

 

Briefing Report - Serious, Violent and Chronic Offenders

Myth:

Most juvenile offenders are gang-involved youth.


Fact:

Less than 5% of youth arrested have any gang alert. However, those with gang alerts are more likely to have been first arrested at age 12 or younger, and more likely to be Serious, Violent, and Chronic (SVC) Offenders.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Gang-Involved Youth

 

Briefing Report - Suspected and Documented Gang-Involved Youth

Myth:

The longer a youth stays in a residential program, the less likely they are to reoffend.


Fact:

Increased length of stay alone does not reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Residential Length of Stay and Recidivism

Myth:

Direct Commitments/Bench Commitments made without Florida Department of Juvenile Justice recommendations are an effective way to reduce crime.


Fact:

Lower risk, minority males are more likely to receive direct commitments without a FDJJ recommendation. Recidivism rates of direct commitment youth are over 8% higher than identically matched probation supervision youth.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Direct Commitments (Bench Commitments)

 

Briefing Report - Direct Commitments

 


Myth:

Girls in Florida are more violent than in the past.


Fact:

Girls are substantially less violent today than in the past.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Violence & Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Myth:

Delinquency arrests increase in the summer when kids are out of school and have less formal supervision.


Fact:

Delinquency arrests consistently decline in the summer and during December.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Delinquency in the Summer

Myth:

Juvenile boot camps effectively rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism.


Fact:

Juvenile boot camps are less than or equally effective at rehabilitating and reducing recidivism compared to residential or community-based programs.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Juvenile Boot Camp Programs

Myth:

"Scared Straight" programs can help troubled youth from entering the juvenile justice system.


Fact:

Research has repeatedly shown that “Scared Straight” programs are ineffective and potentially harmful to public safety.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs. Facts: Scared Straight Programs

Myth:

Secure detention is a good "wake-up" call for youth and will help them correct their behavior.


Fact:

Unnecessary and inappropriate use of secure detention often damages a youth’s future life-course across various outcomes.

 

Research and Documentation

Myths vs Facts: Appropriate Use of Secure Detention

 

Dangers of Detention

 

Costs of Confinement

For more information related to the Myths vs. Facts on this page, contact:


Mark A. Greenwald, M.J.P.M.

Director, Research and Data Integrity

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
2737 Centerview Drive, Suite 1200
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3100

(850) 717-2627

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