U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs, Innovation - Partnerships - Safer Neighborhoods
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Working for Youth Justice and Safety
OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book logo jump over products navigation bar
OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book logoAbout SSBFrequently Asked QuestionsPublicationsData Analysis ToolsNational Data SetsOther ResourcesAsk a Question

Juvenile Population Characteristics
Juveniles as Victims
Juveniles as Offenders
Juvenile Justice System Structure & Process
Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Juveniles in Court
Juveniles on Probation
Juveniles in Corrections
Juvenile Reentry & Aftercare
Statistical Briefing Book Home

OJJDP logo

Juveniles in Court
Case Flow by Detailed Offense

Juvenile court processing for a typical 1,000 delinquency cases, 2012

  Total delinquency [Opens a new window]
1,145,800 Estimated Cases
    | Intake decision
[Opens a new window]
| Intake disposition
[Opens a new window]
| Judicial decision
[Opens a new window]
| Judicial disposition
[Opens a new window]
                   Waived 4        
                           Placed 76  
                           Probation 194  
     Petitioned 541            Adjudicated 307    Other sanction 36  
  Cases                Nonadjudicated  230        
                         Probation 65  
                           Other sanction 28  
     Nonpetitioned  459                    Dismissed 138  
           Probation 103                  
           Other sanction 171                  
           Dismissed 185                  
  Detail may not add to total because of rounding.

[ Text only ]

  • Cases referred to juvenile court are first screened by an intake department (either within or outside the court). The intake department may decide to dismiss the case for lack of legal sufficiency or to resolve the matter formally (petitioned) or informally (nonpetitioned).
    • In 2012, 54% (541 of 1,000) of all delinquency cases disposed by juvenile courts were handled formally while 46% (459 of 1,000) were handled informally.
    • Among nonpetitioned cases, 40% (185 of 459) were dismissed at intake, often for lack of legal sufficiency. In the remaining cases (60%, or 274 of 459), youth voluntarily agreed to informal sanctions, including referral to a social service agency, informal probation, or the payment of fines or some form of voluntary restitution.
  • If the intake department decides that a case should be handled formally within the juvenile court, a petition is filed and the case is placed on the court calendar (or docket) for an adjudicatory hearing. On the other hand, the intake department may decide that a case should be removed from juvenile court and handled instead in criminal (adult) court. In these cases, a petition is usually filed in juvenile court requesting a waiver/transfer hearing, during which the juvenile court judge is asked to waive jurisdiction over the case.
    • In 2012, 57% (307 of 541 cases) of all formally processed delinquency cases resulted in the youth being adjudicated delinquent. In 43% (230 of 541) of these cases, the youth was not adjudicated and 1% (4 of 541) were judicially waived to criminal court.
  • At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court judge determines the most appropriate sanction, generally after reviewing a predisposition report prepared by the probation department. The range of options available to a court typically includes commitment to an institution; placement in a group or foster home or other residential facility; probation (either regular or intensive supervision); referral to an outside agency, day treatment, or mental health program; or imposition of a fine, community service, or restitution.
    • Youth in 25% (76 of 307) of adjudicated delinquency cases were placed in a residential facility. In another 63% (194 of 307) of these adjudicated cases, youth were placed on formal probation.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/JCSCF_Display.asp?ID=qa06601&year=2012&group=1&estimate=1. February 20, 2015.

Data Source: National Juvenile Court Data Archive. National Center for Juvenile Justice. Pittsburgh, PA.


USA.gov | Privacy | Policies & Disclaimers | FOIA | Site Map | Ask a Question | OJJDP Home
A component of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice