In the early 1990s, the prevailing belief was that serious juvenile crime was out of control and bound to get worse. These projections, although credible at the time, failed to materialize. On the contrary, serious juvenile crime rates have been declining over the past decade and, as of 2001, were at their lowest level since 1983 (Snyder, 2003). Nevertheless, the rate at which youth have been placed in confinement in the United States nearly doubled between 1979 and 2001. The causes of these apparently contradictory trends are complex, and the end result is troubling: most youth housed in today's large, secure juvenile facilities do not require the level of security these facilities were created to provide. Furthermore, research suggests that simply "locking kids up" in such facilities is an ineffective and unnecessarily expensive approach to helping troubled youth and reducing juvenile crime. Jurisdictions are seeking better strategies.