The purpose of the Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC) is to provide a detailed understanding of the facilities holding juveniles in custody across the United States. The JRFC offers information about the environments in which youth under 21 are held as part of a multilayered effort by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to describe both the youth placed in residential facilities and the environments of these facilities. The JRFC is a companion effort to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), which collects information from the same facilities that meet JRFC inclusion criteria. The JRFC was administered for the first time in 2000 by the United States Bureau of the Census for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
The JRFC is designed to provide facility-level information for all facilities meeting certain inclusion criteria on the census reference date (see "Sampling" below). The questionnaire has seven sections, collecting information about general facility characteristics; mental health, education, and substance abuse services; events and incidents in the past 30 days; deaths in the past year; and spaces or services shared with other facilities.
The JRFC is administered by the United States Bureau of the Census for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Facility representatives receive mail questionnaires shortly before the survey reference date; beginning with the 2010 JRFC, an online version of the survey is also available. A small number of facilities meeting census inclusion criteria decline to complete sections of the survey or fail to return the census forms after repeated notification and phone contact from Census Bureau personnel; these facilities are designated non-respondents. Other facilities may be unable to provide all the information necessary to complete the survey. In cases where facilities are unable or unwilling to complete all survey items, the Census Bureau uses complete records to impute missing data.
The JRFC is a census. Facility inclusion criteria were the same as those for the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement:
- residential facilities in operation on the census reference date (the fourth Wednesday in October),
- public or private (or, since 1999, tribal) operation, and
- intended for persons under the age of 21 who were charged with or adjudicated for an offense (although some hold adults as well).
Specifically excluded are: nonresidential facilities; detention centers operated as part of adult jails; facilities exclusively for mental health, drug abuse, or for dependent/neglected youth; foster homes; and federal correctional facilities (e.g., Immigration and Naturalization Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Marshals, or Bureau of Prisons).
Public, private, or tribal residential facilities in the United States intended for juvenile offenders and in operation on the census reference date in 2016.
United States Bureau of the Census questionnaires
The 2016 JRFC (n=2,345; 555 variables) collects information on various aspects of residential facilities.
Section 1 of the survey form collects general facility information, including:
- location (state),
- facility population disaggregated by age and offense status (total, under 21, 21 or older, assigned a bed because of an offense, assigned a bed for other reasons),
- physical layout (e.g. presence of separate buildings or separate living/sleeping units),
- facility type (e.g. detention center, group home/halfway house, runaway and homeless shelter),
- treatment provided (e.g. mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment),
- owner and operator sector (private non-profit, for-profit, government) and, for government-owned or -operated facilities, level (tribal, federal, state, county, municipal),
- security features (e.g. locked internal or external doors or gates),
- sleeping arrangements (occupants per sleeping room, number of standard and makeshift beds), and
- participation in voluntary or required exercise.
Section 2 describes mental health services provided inside or outside the facility, including:
- suicide risk evaluation protocol,
- suicide prevention measures,
- mental health evaluation, counseling, and therapy,
- special living/sleeping units for young persons with mental health problems,
- special living/sleeping units for sex offenders, and
- mental health information sharing protocol.
Section 3 describes educational services, including:
- education evaluation protocol,
- availability of and time spent on school attendance or teacher instruction, and
- education information sharing protocol.
Section 4 describes substances abuse services, including:
- substance abuse evaluation protocol,
- drug test requirements,
- self-help groups and other services,
- substance abuse counseling and therapy, and
- substance abuse information sharing protocol.
Section 5 of the survey form relates to events in the 30 days prior to the census reference date, including:
- unauthorized departures,
- transportation to an emergency room,
- use of a mechanical restraint (e.g. handcuffs) by facility staff,
- young persons placed in isolation, and
- inability to secure physical health care, mental health care, educational instruction, or substance abuse services.
Section 6 of the survey form gathers information about any deaths in the past year, including:
- cause of death,
- location of death (inside or outside the facility),
- demographic information (age, sex, race),
- date of admission, and
- date of death.
Section 7 of the survey form describes space shared with other facilities, including:
- presence of other juvenile residential facilities on the same campus, and
- shared facility characteristics (e.g. personnel, space, services).
Using the number of in-scope facilities as a base (i.e., able to hold juveniles overnight and held juveniles on the reference date), the JRFC facility response rate was 88.4 percent in 2016.