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Shutting Down Juvenile Lock-Ups in Colorado

| October 7, 2011

This news story is heartening: the rate of juvenile incarceration in Colorado has dropped precipitously in the last few years, allowing the state to close two youth detention centers.

Since 2006, youth incarceration in Colorado has dropped 32% — from 1,480 to 1,000. And the best news is that this drop is not merely due to drops in juvenile arrests, but rather a focus on the root causes of juvenile crime (like substance abuse and family conflict) as well as an increased use of community-based programs.

Texas also recently shut down three juvenile facilities. As state budgets are squeezed tighter, reforming juvenile justice systems away from the traditional model of costly, remote incarceration facilities and towards community-based alternatives and smarter sentencing practices is a smart way to cut costs while providing effective treatment for juveniles. Colorado’s closures—along with mirrored efforts across the nation–can truly be called win-win.


RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.