District juvenile re-arrest rate drops 26 percent, report says

By Scott McCabe

The number of District youth getting re-arrested and re-convicted has dropped more than 26 percent so far this year, according to a new report by the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

In the first six months of 2011, there were 260 DYRS youth arrests, compared to 170 last year and 124 in 2013. That’s a 52 percent drop compared to the first half of 2011. The statistics are for individuals age 20 and younger.

With fewer youth going back into the juvenile justice system, DYRS youth represent a smaller portion of overall arrests in the District of Columbia, from 8.7 percent in 2011, to 6 percent in 2012, to 4.7 percent so far in 2013, officials said.

Neil A. Stanley, director of DYRS, credited the agency’s monitoring and supervision of juveniles, and better rehabilitation services and public safety strategies.

“We believe that the best, most effective way to rehabilitate youth is to minimize lock-up and to maximize community-based services and placements,” Stanley said in a statement.

The re-arrest rate for DYRS youth dropped in the major categories from January to June in 2012 to the same period this year, officials said.

• Violent offenses (-37 percent)

• Robberies (-49 percent)

• Drug offenses (-74 percent)

• Public offenses (- 50 percent)

• Property offenses (-64 percent)

DYRS has linked more youth to job training and jobs, high school diplomas and GEDs, agency officials said. It has also made available community-based mental, behavioral, and physical health services; and strengthened families’ involvement with their children’s treatment.

The District is leading a nationwide trend of placing court-involved youth in the community with comprehensive services while finding the individuals work and schooling, Stanley said.

Last month, DYRS offender 18-year-old Anthony Sanchez was shot and killed around 2 a.m. while away from his DYRS group home. Officials said he had a pass to leave the home.