Takeaways

  • Status offence behaviors such as skipping school and running away from home are frequently a response to problems such as bullying, or physical or sexual abuse.
  • Incarcerating youth for status offenses such as truancy and skipping school punishes them for being mistreated by family members and peers.
  • Once LGBTQ youth are in the street, they often resort to more serious crimes such as drug dealing and prostitution as a means of survival—two crimes that simultaneously increase the chances that youth will be victims of violence.
  • Justice professionals should consider youths underlying needs for food, shelter, education and employment when making recommendations to the court.
  • Locked-confinement is an inappropriate response to status offenses, misdemeanors, immigration code violations, and minor school code violations and should be prohibited.

Data

In FY2014, 27 states and territories reported that they continued to use the valid court order exception to incarcerate youth for status offense behaviors such as running away from home and skipping school. [7]
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