Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Court Previous Page
Delinquency Cases
Q: Has the juvenile courts' use of detention in delinquency cases changed?
A: The number of delinquency cases involving detention fell considerably between 2005 and 2020.
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.
  • Juvenile courts sometimes hold youth in secure detention facilities during processing of their case. Depending on the State's detention laws, the court may decide detention is necessary to ensure the youth's appearance at subsequent court hearings, to protect the community from the youth, or to secure the juvenile's own safety. Detention may also be ordered for the purpose of evaluating the youth.
  • The number of delinquency cases involving detention declined 68% between 2005 and 2020.
  • Youth were held in detention facilities at some point between referral to court and case disposition in 25% of all delinquency cases handled in 2020.

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

Adapted from Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics. Available on-line at:

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