As COVID-19 spread across the state in 2020, protecting the health and safety of youths in juvenile detention centers became a critical concern. State officials issued multiple orders to reduce the threat to the health of these youths. The guidance focused primarily on reducing the number of young people in confinement.

In response, juvenile courts increased the use of existing alternatives to confinement. Some courts worked with community-based systems to provide greater access to services. Some courts had to be more creative in utilizing specialized programs and graduated sanctions to avoid placing youths in detention.

To study the results of these efforts, PPA partnered with the Michigan Center on Youth Justice. Overall, the youth population in secure facilities dropped by 23% from March 2020 to September 2020. Read more about additional findings from the study here.