Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Court Previous Page
Delinquency Cases
Q: Do trends in the number of detained cases vary by offense?
A: The number of cases involving detention decreased for all offense categories 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 youth's own safety. Detention may also be ordered for the purpose of evaluating the youth.
  • The number of drug offense cases involving detention declined 80% between 2005 and 2020, public order offense cases involving detention fell 72%, property offense cases involving detention fell 70%, and person offense cases involving detention declined 60% during the same period.
  • Compared with 2005, the 2020 the detention caseload contained greater proportions of person (33% versus 42%) offense cases and a smaller proportion of property (29% versus 27%), drug (10% versus 7%), and public order (24% versus 27%) offense cases.

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.