This page corrects some commonly held myths and misperceptions about Florida's juvenile justice system. For each myth, we've provided a response with links to research and documentation that provides the facts (source DJJ).


Myth: Juvenile delinquency is increasing in Florida.
Fact: Delinquency in Florida is down has been declining for several years.

Myth: More girls are entering the delinquency system.
Fact: Fewer girls are entering the delinquency system.

Myth: Girls are more violent today than in the past
Fact: Girls are substantially less violent today than in the past.

Myth: "Scared Straight" programs can help troubled kids from entering the juvenile justice system.
Fact: Research has repeatedly shown that "Scared Straight" programs are ineffective and can actually be harmful to some youth. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) does not support and will not fund such initiatives.

Myth: Delinquency increases in the summer when kids are out of school and have less formal supervision.
Fact: Delinquency actually declines in December and over the summer.

Myth: Most delinquents are habitual offenders who continue to cycle in and out of the system.
Fact: Roughly two-thirds of the juveniles referred to DJJ in any given year are first-time offenders.

Myth: The longer a given juvenile stays in a residential program, the less likely he or she is to re-offend.
Fact: Research has found that increased length of stay alone does not reduce re-offense.

Myth: Secure detention is a good "wake-up" call for youth and will help them turn around their behavior.
Fact: Research has found that being detained can actually make things worse for some youth. DJJ supports appropriate use of detention and is actively working to reduce unnecessary detentions.

Myth: Juvenile boot camps are highly effective at rehabilitating offenders and reducing recidivism.
Fact: Juvenile boot camps are less effective or the same at rehabilitation and recidivism reduction than residential or probation programs. In fact, DJJ is statutorily prohibited from funding boot camps.



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