Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Court Previous Page
Delinquency Cases
Q: What proportion of delinquency cases are referred to juvenile court by law enforcement agencies?
A: The majority (84%) of delinquency cases handled by juvenile courts in 2020 were referred by law enforcement agencies.
It is important to note that 2020 was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities regarding referrals to and processing of youth by juvenile courts. Additionally, stay-at-home orders and school closures likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior by youth referred to juvenile court in 2020.
  • Cases can be referred to juvenile court by any one of a number of sources such as law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, schools, parents, probation officers, and victims.
  • Law enforcement agencies referred 91% of property and drug offense cases, 88% of person offense cases, and 64% of public order offense cases handled in juvenile court in 2020.
  • A smaller proportion of public order cases are referred to juvenile court by law enforcement, largely because this offense category contains cases involving contempt of court and probation violations that are most often referred by probation or court personnel.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on January 10, 2023.

Data Source: National Juvenile Court Data Archive. National Center for Juvenile Justice. Pittsburgh, PA.