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Juveniles in Court
Q: Has the juvenile courts' use of detention in delinquency cases changed?
A: The number of delinquency cases involving detention increased 17% between 1985 and 2010. During that period, the proportion of detained delinquency cases ranged between 18% and 23%.
Detained delinquency cases, 1985-2010

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  • Juvenile courts sometimes hold youth in secure detention facilities during court processing of their case. Depending on the State's detention laws, the court may decide detention is necessary to ensure the juvenile's appearance at subsequent court hearings, to protect the community from the juvenile, or to secure the juvenile's own safety. Detention may also be ordered for the purpose of evaluating the juvenile.
  • Juveniles were held in detention facilities at some point between referral to court and case disposition in 21% of all delinquency cases handled in 2010.
  • While the proportion of cases detained fluctuated between 1985 and 2010, the volume of cases generally grew. The result was a 17% increase in the number of cases involving detention over the 26-year period, an increase of 41,000 cases in which the youth was detained.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06301.asp?qaDate=2010. Released on April 17, 2013.

Adapted from Juvenile Court Statistics 2010 (forthcoming). Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice.


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