National Estimates of Petitioned Status Offense Cases
Counts and Trends
In 1995, U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction petitioned and formally disposed an estimated 146,400 status offense cases (table 49).2 This number was 77% more than the number of petitioned status offense cases handled in 1986. Petitioned truancy cases increased 80% between 1986 and 1995. The number of runaway offenses was 59% higher in 1995 than in 1986, status liquor offense cases increased 54%, and ungovernability cases increased 14%.
The Nationís juvenile courts processed 5.2 petitioned status offense cases for every 1,000 youth at risk of referral to juvenile court in 1995. The total case rate was 63% higher in 1995 than in 1986. The rate for truancy cases increased 65%, the runaway rate grew 46%, the rate for status liquor law violation cases increased 41%, and the rate for ungovernability cases was 5% higher than in 1986.
Truancy and status liquor law violations each accounted for one-quarter (26%) of formally handled status offense cases in 1995 (table 50). Runaway cases were 16% of the status offense caseload, ungovernability cases were 13%, and other miscellaneous status offenses accounted for 20%. This pattern of truancy and status liquor cases making up a greater share of status offense cases than runaway and ungovernable cases has been consistent back to 1986.
1 A number of other behaviors may be considered status offenses (e.g., curfew violations, tobacco offenses). All such offenses are combined within a "miscellaneous" category in this Report. Because of the heterogeneity of these offenses, these cases are not discussed independently. However, all totals include the "miscellaneous status offenses."
2 This Report presents analyses only of formally handled status offenses. See the Introduction to this Report for further explanation.