In 1996, Oklahoma's youth population under age 18 was approximately 888,800 (Casey Foundation 1998).
In 1995, 24 percent of the State's children lived in poverty. Today, one out of four children in Oklahoma live in poverty (Casey Foundation 1998).
Oklahoma ranked 34th in the country in terms of teen birth rate for 1995. This same year, the birth rate in the State was 39 births per 1,000 young women ages 15-17. This was down from 42 births per 1,000 young women in 1985 (Casey Foundation 1998). In 1993, 143 Oklahoma mothers were only 12 years of age. From 1991 to 1993, the average annual percentage of births to African-American young women was 11.5 percent. This was higher than other ethnic categories, which averages 5.1 percent for Anglo young women and 9.6 percent for Native Americans (Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy 1996, p. 7).
During the 1995-96 school year, approximately 10,812 Oklahoma students left school permanently, making the dropout rate 9 percent. Further, 44.7 percent of dropouts in this school year were young women as compared to 55.3 percent of the young men (Casey Foundation 1998).
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System
In Oklahoma, local courts play a key role in the functioning of the juvenile justice system. Most cases involving juvenile offenders are handled by the associate district judge, although this practice can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some counties also use court referees or district judges to hear juvenile cases. After a juvenile offender is adjudicated in a juvenile court, a Post Adjudication Review Board provides citizen review of the care received by that youth on a six-month basis. A report is then made by the board to the juvenile court. Currently there are 65 boards in the State in 73 counties (Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth 1994, pp. 34-35).
The Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) is the State organization responsible for ensuring that appropriate placements and services exist for juvenile offenders in the State. OJA operates under the statutory authority of the "Oklahoma Juvenile Code" (Title 10 0.S., 7301-1.1 et. seq.). OJA was established on July 1, 1995, as a result of legislation enacting the Oklahoma Juvenile Code (Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs 1998).
The State Formula Grants Program is managed by OJA.
Offense Patterns and Processing of Juvenile Female Offenders
The following statistics give an overview of the information available on female offending and processing patterns in Oklahoma:
Approach to Female Offenders
Oklahoma has established the following goals for addressing the needs of juvenile female offenders and young women at-risk in the State:
Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1998. KIDS COUNT Online Service. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth. 1994. Oklahoma 1994 Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Plan. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth. 1995. Oklahoma 1995 Challenge Activity E Grant Application. 1995. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.
Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. 1996. Oklahoma Kids Count Factbook `96. Oklahoma City, OK.
Poe-Yamagata, E., and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.