Juvenile Arrests

BACKGROUND: REDUCING JUVENILE ARRESTS

Data on Juveniles in Florida

  • In 2012 Florida arrested 78,195 youth, 73,371 for non-violent offenses; Florida arrests a higher percentage of youth than California or Texas. (2012 FBI Uniform Crime report).
  • Arrest records are a significant obstacle to juveniles later in life when they apply for scholarships, jobs, and entrance into the military.
  • Florida’s Civil Citation program (FL Statute 985) diverts juveniles from an arrest record toward a community based diversion program. Offered initially for first time misdemeanors (non-serious offenses), this program allows juveniles to make restitution to victims and complete interventions to change their behavior without obtaining a criminal record.
  • Recidivism for Civil Citation is 4% as compared to 13% for those arrested for first time misdemeanors; the recidivism rate is closer to 41% for those sent to detention centers. The data shows that children who go through the civil citation program are three times less likely to get into trouble again than children who are arrested for the same offenses. (Theda Roberts, DJJ Civil Citation Coordinator).
  • The cost for Civil Citation is $385 as compared to nearly $5,000 for a juvenile to be processed in the Juvenile Court system.
  • Some counties fully use Civil Citations but on a statewide basis only 43% of eligible juveniles received a Civil Citation in the twelve month period ending June 2015; the result is 11,890 children have received an arrest record and did not get access to the program during this period. (DJJ report, June 2015).

What BOLD Justice has accomplished so far – Broward County

  • At our 2015 Action the Chief committed to begin implementing civil citations in April 2015 for the first time.
  • In the past year (Sept 16-Aug 17) Hollywood has gotten 49% (30 out of 61) of eligible youth into civil citations
  • BSO gets 82% of and Broward County as a whole gets 73% of eligible youth into civil citations

What BOLD Justice has accomplished so far – State Wide

  • In 2015 BOLD Justice and the other DART groups in Florida pressed Florida Legislature passed SB 387 (152 votes in favor, 3 votes against) to allow juveniles a civil citation up to three times for an eligible offense;
  • Since that time Broward County law enforcement has issued 115 2nd chance civil citations and 7 3rd chance civil citations.
  • Across the state of Florida 1,157 children have received 2ndchance civil citation and 70 have received a 3rd chance civil citations

Next Steps:

Last year’sDJJ numbers show that roughly 90% of youth arrested committed a Non-Violent crime.

2010 by Associated Industries of Florida – Getting Smart on Juvenile Crime in Florida: Taking It to the Next Level -

Data provided by BSO and DJJ


  • Despite the progress made on civil citations, according to the Florida Civil Citation dashboard 7,895 children who were eligible for civil citations last year did not receive them.
  • The Criminal Justice Collaborative is currently working to identify strategies to increase the use of civil citations across the state.