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
Related FAQs
Related Publications
Related Links
Case Flow Diagram
Law Enforcement & Juvenile Crime
Juveniles in Court
Juveniles on Probation
Juveniles in Corrections
Juvenile Reentry & Aftercare
Special Topics
Data Snapshot
Statistical Briefing Book Home

OJJDP logo

Juvenile Justice System Structure and Process


The first juvenile court in the United States was established in Chicago in 1899, more than 100 years ago. During the last 30 years, the juvenile justice system has weathered significant modifications. Perceptions of a juvenile crime epidemic in the early 1990s fueled public scrutiny of the systemís ability to effectively control violent juvenile offenders. As a result, states have adopted numerous legislative changes in an effort to crack down on juvenile crime.

This section describes the juvenile justice system, focusing on structure and process features that relate to delinquency and status offense matters. Topics covered in this section include a history of the juvenile court, significant Supreme Court decisions that have shaped the modern juvenile justice system, and comparisons between juvenile and criminal court processing. In addition, this section summarizes changes made by states with regard to the systemís jurisdictional authority, sentencing, corrections programming, confidentiality of records and court hearings, and victim involvement in court hearings.

Much of the information presented in this section was drawn from the National Center for Juvenile Justiceís analysis of juvenile codes in each state.


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