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Juveniles in Court
Delinquency Cases
Q: Has the juvenile courts' use of detention in delinquency cases changed?
A: The number of delinquency cases involving detention peaked in 2005 and decreased through 2018. During that period, the proportion of detained delinquency cases ranged between 24% and 26%.

Detained delinquency cases, 1985-2018

Year Detained cases
1985 225,700
1986 238,400
1987 227,500
1988 233,700
1989 251,000
1990 263,100
1991 248,900
1992 268,800
1993 286,300
1994 305,900
1995 321,600
1996 333,400
1997 366,200
1998 379,300
1999 374,100
2000 370,600
2001 381,500
2002 392,200
2003 383,200
2004 374,900
2005 405,700
2006 396,800
2007 392,700
2008 371,400
2009 338,800
2010 314,400
2011 290,300
2012 274,700
2013 253,400
2014 228,400
2015 219,200
2016 209,300
2017 202,900
2018 195,400

[ Graph version ]  [ CSV file ]

  • Juvenile courts sometimes hold youth in secure detention facilities during court processing of their case. Depending on the State's detention laws, the court may decide detention is necessary to ensure the juvenile's appearance at subsequent court hearings, to protect the community from the juvenile, or to secure the juvenile's own safety. Detention may also be ordered for the purpose of evaluating the juvenile.
  • Juveniles were held in detention facilities at some point between referral to court and case disposition in 26% of all delinquency cases handled in 2018.
  • The number of delinquency cases involving detention increased steadily between 1985 and 2005, increasing 80% during that period. However, the annual number of cases detained has declined 42% over the last 10 years. By 2018, the number of delinquency cases detained was at a level below that reported in 1985.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/court/qa06301.asp?qaDate=2018. Released on March 31, 2020.

Adapted from Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics. Available on-line at: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/.

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

 

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