Governor Ron DeSantis and Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Simone Marstiller (DJJ) today announced that the number of juvenile arrests continued to decline in Fiscal Year 2019-2020, according to the latest delinquency report released by the agency. Overall juvenile arrests statewide declined 17 percent and felony juvenile arrests also declined 16 percent. These declines continue the multi-year trend of fewer arrests, with a five-year decline of 35 percent, resulting in the lowest number of juvenile arrests in 45 years.
“This historic low in juvenile arrests reflects our commitment to public safety in Florida and in keeping our young people from going down the wrong path,” said Governor DeSantis. “We will continue to work with our dedicated law enforcement and community partners to keep Florida safe and provide all Florida youth with the opportunity to achieve their full potential and have a better, brighter future.”
“I want to thank Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for supporting DJJ as we continue to invest in community-based interventions to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system while providing services to meet the needs of those in the deeper end of our system,” said DJJ Secretary Marstiller. “The continued decline year after year in juvenile arrests is a testament to the strength of Florida’s juvenile justice system.”
The new report, covering a five-year period, also shows a 58 percent decrease in felony drug arrests, a 46 percent decline in grand larceny arrests, and 21 percent decrease in overall misdemeanor arrests.
While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted juvenile arrests, trends indicate these arrests would have continued downward despite the public health emergency. The newest delinquency report also enables users to view trends using a filter for pre-COVID-19 months.
Florida has been recognized as a national leader in innovative, evidence-based approaches to juvenile justice. Florida’s juvenile justice system emphasizes prevention and early intervention services and rehabilitative services for youth in the deeper end of the juvenile justice system.
To view the full report, click HERE.