The number of juveniles arrested in Florida has dropped to its lowest mark in more than four decades
Statistics released by the Governor’s Office on Thursday show juvenile arrests dropped seven percent in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and were down 24 percent over the past five years.
“Our state has made significant strides in reforming our juvenile justice system and I am proud to announce today that juvenile arrests have dropped to a historic 42-year low,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a released statement.
The five counties with the largest populations all saw drops in the number of juveniles arrested. Orange County saw the largest decrease with 15 fewer arrests. It was followed by Hillsborough with a 14 percent drop, followed by Broward and Miami-Dade counties which both saw reductions of seven percent. Palm Beach County saw a four percent decrease.
The report covers a five-year period. It shows an overall decline in felony offenses, including a 15 percent decrease in murder/manslaughter arrests and a 14 percent decline in overall misdemeanor arrests.
The report also shows a year-to-year four percent drop statewide in auto theft arrests, including a 19 percent year-to-year decrease in auto theft arrests in the Central Florida region. The report also shows a 14 percent decline in overall misdemeanor arrests.
“More than six years ago, DJJ committed to improve Florida’s juvenile justice system through innovative and aggressive reforms,” said Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly. “The continued decline in juvenile arrests year after year demonstrates our reform efforts are working. We will continue to work with law enforcement and our community partners to keep even more kids out of the juvenile justice system, provide the very best services for those that do come into our system, and work hard to help steer every youth down the right path.”
Gov. Scott says he plans to continue focusing on the issue of juvenile justice in the upcoming legislative session, his last as governor due to term limits.
“Today’s announcement would not be possible without Florida’s juvenile detention and probation officers, who work each day to redirect our youth to a successful path,” Scott sasid. “ I will be working with the legislature during the upcoming session to pass a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers so we can reward them for their critical work.”