A brief snapshot of the Indiana Department of Correction, Division of Youth Services statistics can be found on the July 1, 2013, Fact Card. Of note are a few things:
The length of stay is pretty much the same for all types of offenses, and averages less than a year. Violent offenders average 9.7 months of incarceration, while minor offenders average 6.4 months.
Analyzing types of offenses, the highest percentage of children — 39.1% — are incarcerated for property offenses, rather than offenses against a person. 15.1% of the juvenile population has one or more drug offenses.
The concern about disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile system appears to be true in Indiana, unfortunately. 50.5% of the juvenile DOC population is listed as White, and 35% is Black. In contrast, according to United States Census Bureau data, 86.6% of the population of Indiana is White. Only 9.4% of the Indiana population is Black/African-American.
Of ongoing concern for advocates is the number of status offenders who are placed in DOC Division of Youth Services facilities — 1.4% of a total population. Advocates continue to work to keep all status offenders out of any type of secure detention, including the DOC. Currently, status offenders can only be placed at DOC for leaving home without permission (runaway) or truancy after violating a written warning of consequences issued by the juvenile court. For example, Martha runs away from home and is later adjudicated for leaving home without permission. Martha’s disposition includes counseling services and a strict curfew as part of her probation terms. The judge also gives Martha the written warning of consequences, which tells her that if she runs away from home again, she can be detained in certain facilities, include a detention facility and the DOC. When Martha runs away again a few weeks later, the judge can place her at the DOC for the second offense.