A young person’s involvement in the juvenile justice system often begins with an encounter with law
enforcement and his or her arrest as a result of that encounter. Many youth who are arrested for low-level
offenses such as skipping school, running away from home, or alcohol use are inappropriately
referred to the juvenile justice system. A compelling body of evidence now shows that many young
people, particularly those charged with low-level offenses, achieve better life outcomes and are less
likely to commit future crimes when kept out of juvenile court and detention facilities.