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Courts / Law

Florida's Juvenile Arrests Drop As Civil Citation Use Grows

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

Despite more than doubling in population, Florida had the fewest number of juvenile arrests last fiscal year since it began keeping statistics 42 years ago.

Gov. Rick Scott's office and the Department of Juvenile Justice released statistics Thursday saying that Florida had 64,824 juvenile arrests in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That compares to 105,615 juvenile arrests in the fiscal year that ended in 1976, when Florida had a population of 8.5 million. It now has more than 20.6 million residents.

It's also a 24 percent drop in arrests over the last five years, as law enforcement agencies are increasingly issuing civil citations and using other diversion programs.

In the fiscal year that ended in 2012, only 26 percent of eligible youths were issued civil citations. That rose to 55 percent last fiscal year.

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