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California Youth Continue to Bring Steep Declines in Juvenile Arrests

CJCJ’s new fact sheet shows youth arrests in California are at a historical low, following a decades-long pattern of decline.

SAN FRANCISCO – December 19, 2017 – A new fact sheet by CJCJ’s Senior Research Fellow Mike Males examines arrest rates for youth in California. These findings show each generation of California youth, from Generation X onward, has lowered the state’s rate of youth arrest and contributed to increased public safety. 

Arrests of California youth per 100,000 population ages 10-17 by generation, 1957-2016

According to CJCJ's fact sheet:

  • Total arrests of California youth ages 10-17 declined sharply in 2016. Since 2007, California’s youth arrest rate has dropped to record-setting lows each year. In 2016, California experienced 9,180 fewer arrests of youth ages 10-17, producing a 13 percent decline in the rate of juvenile arrests.

  • Youth arrests for violent crimes have fallen to less than half the rate in 1990. The 2016 arrest rate of youth for violent crimes (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and kidnapping) fell to 56 percent below the 1990 rate and 68 percent below 1975’s rate.

  • Millennial youth have the lowest rates of juvenile arrest on record. A number equivalent to 5 percent of Millennials (born 1982-2004) under age 18 were arrested annually. In contrast, an average of 11 percent of Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) and 8 percent of members of Generation X (born 1961-1981) were arrested as juveniles. This historic plunge in youth crime is also occurring nationally.

  • Improvements in youth safety have coincided with California’s justice reform era. In the midst of state and local policies that have emphasized rehabilitation instead of punishment and incarceration, California has seen a 71 percent decline in total juvenile arrests and a 57 percent decline in arrests for violent offenses from 2010 through 2016. 

Read the full fact sheet >>

For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x. 103 or

Keywords: DJF/DJJ, Juvenile justice, youth arrest, youth arrests

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