Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders

Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders

Status offenses are offenses that only apply to minors whose actions would not considered offenses if they were adults. The most common are skipping school, running away, breaking curfew, and possession or use of alcohol. Under the JJDPA, status offenders may not be held in secure detention or confinement.

There are, however, several exceptions to this rule, including allowing some status offenders to be detained for up to 24 hours. The DSO provision seeks to ensure that status offenders who have not committed a criminal offense are not held in secure juvenile facilities for extended periods of time or in secure adult facilities for any length of time. These children, instead, should receive community-based services, such as day treatment or residential home treatment, counseling, mentoring, family support, and alternative education. Learn more in the Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders Fact Sheet.