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Juveniles in Court
Q: Do trends in the use of detention vary by offense?
A: For all but drug offense cases, the proportion of cases involving detention changed very little between 1985 and 2011-varying 5 to 8 percentage points.
Percentage of cases detained, 1985-2011

[ Text only ]  [ Excel file ]

  • 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.
  • The likelihood of detention for juveniles charged with drug offense cases peaked in 1989 but varied more than other offenses between 1985 and 2011. In 1989, juveniles were detained in 34% of drug cases; by 2011, it had decreased to 15%.
  • The likelihood of detention for juveniles was lower in 2011 than in 1985 for person and public order offense cases and about the same for property offense cases.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06303.asp?qaDate=2011. Released on May 22, 2014.

Adapted from Juvenile Court Statistics 2011 (forthcoming). Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice.


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