Juvenile Justice Studies
Solution to arrests for common youth misbehavior: Juvenile civil citations
Florida leads the nation in the solution to effectively address common youth misbehavior – it’s called a “juvenile civil citation”, which is an alternative to arrest. Some states refer to this approach as a pre -arrest diversion.
The Caruthers Institute (CI) conducts the nation’s most important annual study on the issue, authored by founder Dewey Caruthers who is one of Florida’s top experts on the topic. He has worked with numerous counties to build and grow juvenile civil citation programs.
The first study – “Stepping Up: Florida’s Top Juvenile Civil Citation Efforts 2015 – showed civil citations increase public safety, improve youth outcomes and save taxpayer money. CI’s second study by the same name in 2016 revealed that arresting youth rather than issue civil citations create more reoffenders who generate more crime, running counter to law enforcement’s basic responsibility to reduce crime. The studies also include a state-by-state analysis of state statutes and state data reporting.
All of this is nationally important as many states look to Florida on how to effectively address common youth misbehavior without making arrests. By issuing civil citations in 43% of eligible instances last year, Florida saved $12 million to $41 million that was seamlessly reinvested into preventing and handling felonies – which also resulted in nearly 9,000 youth not being arrested.
Juvenile civil citations in Florida provide discretion to law enforcement officers (LEO) whether to arrest or issue a civil citation for eligible common youth misbehavior, which does not include felonies, anything sexual, or any drug other than small amounts of marijuana.
To receive a civil citation, youth must take responsibility for their actions, and complete the civil citation program.
- Community service (up to 50 hours)
- Mental health assessment to determine if youth are first-time, one-time offenders; or are likely to reoffend
- Mandatory counseling for those deemed likely to reoffend, such as anger management for a teenage boy in a fight
- Letters of apology to the victim and to the LEO outlining the consequences had the officer chose to arrest
2015 Juvenile Justice
FL State Study
2015 Study News Release