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Juveniles in Court
Disposition
Q: Has there been an increase in the number of delinquency cases ordered to formal probation or residential placement?
A: Nearly all the growth in the number of cases in which the youth was placed on formal probation or ordered to a residential facility took place between 1985 and 1997.

Adjudicated delinquency cases by disposition, 1985-2010

Year Residential placement Probation Other sanction

1985 105,400 194,300 38,100
1986 113,100 205,900 39,900
1987 108,700 201,300 38,800
1988 109,200 200,500 44,700
1989 120,200 216,600 49,800
1990 125,400 231,700 48,000
1991 127,900 240,900 55,800
1992 132,400 255,900 56,800
1993 138,900 272,200 67,600
1994 151,900 294,600 77,300
1995 161,500 326,300 75,900
1996 166,900 357,300 82,200
1997 173,300 379,300 79,200
1998 166,700 356,400 73,000
1999 165,100 349,400 79,100
2000 165,600 351,400 77,000
2001 157,800 345,700 77,400
2002 158,100 339,700 84,400
2003 153,600 333,100 85,800
2004 144,200 332,200 81,900
2005 148,500 322,300 82,300
2006 146,900 323,000 76,700
2007 143,400 318,400 74,900
2008 139,000 310,800 66,600
2009 123,800 285,500 58,500
2010 112,600 260,300 55,200

Note: Cases are categorized according to their most severe disposition.

[ Graph version ]  [ Excel file ]

  • In dispositional hearings, juvenile court judges must determine the most appropriate sanction for delinquent youth. Disposition options include commitment to an institution or another residential facility; probation; or a variety of other dispositions, such as referral to an outside agency or treatment program, community service, fines, or restitution. Very often the court imposes some combination of these sanctions.
  • The number of adjudicated delinquency cases resulting in residential placement increased 64% between 1985 and 1997 and then decreased 335% through 2010. In 2010, adjudicated juveniles were ordered to residential placement in 112,600 delinquency cases—26% of all adjudicated delinquency cases.
  • The number of adjudicated delinquency cases resulting in formal probation nearly doubled between 1985 and 1997, then decreased 31% through 2010. In 2010, formal probation was the most restrictive disposition ordered in 260,300 delinquency cases—61% of all adjudicated delinquency cases.
  • The number of adjudicated delinquency cases receiving other court ordered sanctions more than doubled between 1985 and 2010. In 2010, other sanctions, such as community service and restitution, were imposed in 55,200 delinquency cases—13% of all adjudicated delinquency cases.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06501.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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