Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles on Probation Previous Page
Probation as a Court Disposition
Q: Do trends in the number of adjudicated cases receiving probation vary by offense?
A: The number of adjudicated delinquency cases ordered to formal probation declined for each offense in recent years.
  • Overall, the number of delinquency cases ordered to formal probation nearly doubled between 1985 and 1997, then declined 63% through 2018. The trend for property offense cases followed a similar pattern. After reaching a peak in 1997, the number of property offense cases fell 75% through 2018.
  • Person, public order, and drug cases increased since 1985, but reached their peak later than property cases. Drug offense cases peaked in 2001, person cases peaked in 2003, and public order offense cases peaked in 2004. Since reaching its peak, the number of adjudicated drug offense cases ordered to formal probation fell 66% through 2018, person fell 53%, and public order fell 61% between their peak and 2018.
  • As a result of these changes, the formal probation caseload included greater proportions of person, drug, and public order offense cases in 2018 than in 1985.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on March 31, 2020.

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.