Basic services, 2017

  • Overall

    State operated

  • Detention

    State operated

  • Probation

    State operated

  • Reentry

    State operated

Delinquency services are centralized in Delaware. A single state-level executive agency, The Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families, Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS), administers a full range of services to delinquent youth. The Community Services Unit within the DYRS administers probation and aftercare services. The DYRS also administers commitment to public state facilities and operates Delaware’s two secure detention facilities.

Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Corrections agency, 2015

  • Independent juvenile corrections agency

  • Family/child welfare agency or division

  • Broad human services agency

  • Adult corrections agency or division

The Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families, Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) administers commitment to state juvenile correctional facilities and aftercare services for youth leaving those facilities.

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

No statutory time limit/s for court diversions exist.

Solitary confinement, 2016

  • Prohibits punitive confinement

  • Limits punitive confinement

  • No limits on punitive confinement

  • Did not respond

Solitary confinement for punitive purposes is allowed in Delaware's juvenile correctional facilities. Solitary confinement may not exceed 2 consecutive hours with a max of 6 hours a day.  (Adapted from 51 Jurisdiction Survey of Juvenile Solitary Confinement Rules in Juvenile Justice Systems, 2016. Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest at Lowenstein Sandler LLP)

Release decision, 2016

  • Agency

  • Court

  • Parole board

  • Agency and court

For youth on indefinite commitments, the Delaware Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services determines release from juvenile correctional facilities. This is based on completion of rehabilitative treatment and best interests of the youth while ensuring public safety. For those youth who are serving mandatory commitments as outlined in Delaware Code, a release from mandatory commitment must be approved by a member of the Family Court judiciary. A risk/assessment tool is not used to inform release decisions.

Risk assessment, 2020

Organization 2013 2017 2020
Statewide uniform assessment
Layered/regional assessment
Locally administered assessment

In Delaware, juvenile probation is administered by the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families, Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS). DYRS administrative policy requires the use of a risk/needs assessment in juvenile probation. Delaware uses the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) statewide and provides training on the PACT for probation officers. Information from the PACT is used to develop probation disposition recommendations to the juvenile court, assign probation supervision level, develop probation case plans, and inform reports to the court. The state is able to aggregate case level data and uses it to assist with probation administration and organizational planning.

Sex offender registration, 2015


Risk instruments, 2017

  • Statute or agency policy

    Required by state or administrative regulation

  • Agency recommended

    Recommended by probation oversite agency

Risk instruments tool used
Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT)

Mental health screening, 2014

Requires a research-based mental health screening

  • Secure detention

  • Probation

  • Corrections

Mental health screening tool used
Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument –Version 2 (MAYSI-2)

Delaware supports the use of research-based mental health screening in secure detention and corrections. Administrative policy requires the implementation of mental health screening, and uses the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument, 2nd Edition (MAYSI-2). 

Frameworks for evidence-based practices, 2014

  • Statute

    Supporting commitment to EBPs

  • Administrative regulations

    Either in corrections, probation, or the juvenile court

  • Support center

    Or collaboration dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs

  • No stance

    No official stance on EBPs

  • Did not respond

    State did not respond to the survey

Delaware does not apply a specific definition of evidence-based programs and practices in juvenile justice. The state supports the proliferation of evidence-based programs and practices (EBPs) in juvenile justice through the funding of the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP). New program contracts must be willing to participate in the SPEP process, the state also provides technical assistance to these agencies.

Recidivism reporting, 2016

Study populations

The group(s) of youth being studied in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Re-offense events

Events that are used to measure recidivism in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • Arrest

  • Court action

  • Supervision

  • Placement

Follow-up periods

Details regarding the length of time and frequency that youth are tracked in states that publicly report recidivism data.

18 months with adult systems reporting


Additional levels of analysis provided in states that publicly report recidivism data.

  • County

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/ethn.

  • Risk level

  • Initial offense

  • Re-offense

  • Prior history

The State of Delaware Criminal Justice Council publishes recidivism data for youth released from a Youth Rehabilitative Service (YRS) Level 5 (locked secure) or Level 4 (staff secure) facility. Data is included on arrests and re-admissions to a secure facility within the first 18 months of a youth's release.

Data sources

Juvenile Recidivism in Delaware: An Analysis of Youth Released in 2010 through 2012
State of Delaware Criminal Justice Council

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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