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Racial and Ethnic Fairness
National data show disparities for minority youth at the court referral, detention, placement, and waiver to criminal court stages.

Case processing characteristics of delinquency offenses by race, 2019

Counts Total White Minority Black AIAN* AHPI** Hispanic
Population (10 to upper age) 31,878,900 16,912,900 14,966,000 4,726,300 599,400 1,909,100 7,731,300
Cases referred to juvenile court 722,600 310,200 412,500 254,800 12,900 8,700 136,100
Cases diverted 199,200 104,000 95,200 51,300 3,300 2,700 38,000
Cases detained 186,600 63,100 123,500 75,100 3,200 2,200 42,900
Cases petitioned 386,600 150,100 236,500 153,700 7,200 4,500 71,200
Cases adjudicated 203,600 79,400 124,200 76,200 4,100 2,400 41,500
Adjudicated cases resulting in probation 132,200 54,000 78,200 46,600 2,700 1,800 27,200
Adjudicated cases resulting in placement 55,100 17,200 37,900 23,600 1,000 500 12,700
Cases judicially waived 3,300 1,100 2,200 1,700 <50 <50 400
Rates Total White Minority Black AIAN* AHPI** Hispanic
Cases referred per 1,000 population 22.7 18.3 27.6 53.9 21.5 4.5 17.6
Cases diverted per 100 cases referred 27.6 33.5 23.1 20.1 25.3 31.0 27.9
Cases detained per 100 cases referred 25.8 20.3 29.9 29.5 25.2 25.6 31.5
Cases petitioned per 100 cases referred 53.5 48.4 57.3 60.3 55.7 51.9 52.3
Cases adjudicated per 100 cases petitioned 52.7 52.9 52.5 49.6 57.4 52.3 58.3
Probation cases per 100 adjudicated cases 64.9 68.0 62.9 61.1 64.5 74.5 65.4
Placement cases per 100 adjudicated cases 27.1 21.7 30.5 31.0 24.6 20.6 30.6
Cases judicially waived per 100 cases petitioned 0.9 0.7 0.9 1.1 0.6 0.6 0.6
Ratio of Rates1 Minority Black AIAN* AHPI** Hispanic
Referral rate 1.5 2.9 1.2 0.2 1.0
Diversion rate 0.7 0.6 0.8 0.9 0.8
Detention rate 1.5 1.4 1.2 1.3 1.6
Petitioned rate 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1
Adjudicated rate 1.0 0.9 1.1 1.0 1.1
Probation rate 0.9 0.9 0.9 1.1 1.0
Placement rate 1.4 1.4 1.1 1.0 1.4
Waiver rate 1.3 1.5 0.8 0.9 0.9

1 The ratio of rates is created by dividing the rates for each race/ethnic minority group by the white rate. A ratio of 1.0 indicates statistical parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison groups are equal. For example, if white youth and black youth were referred at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. When the ratio exceeds 1.0, the rate for the race/ethnic minority group exceeds the rate for white youth; when it is below 1.0, the rate for race/ethnic minority youth is less than the rate for white youth.

**AIAN: American Indian or Alaskan Native; ***AHPI: Asian, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.



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  • In 2019, cases involving black youth were nearly three times more likely to be referred to juvenile court for a delinquency offense than cases involving white youth.
  • The diversion rate for cases involving black, American Indian, and Hispanic youth was less than the diversion rate for cases involving white youth.
  • Regardless of race/ethnicity, delinquency cases involving minority youth were more likely to involve detention than cases involving white youth.
  • Cases involving black youth were more likely to be petitioned than cases involving white youth, but were less likely to result in a delinquency adjudication.
  • Cases involving Hispanic youth were 60% more likely to involve detention than cases involving white youth, and 40% more likely to receive a placement disposition.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/special_topics/qa11601.asp?qaDate=2019. Released on June 22, 2021.

Data Source: Adapted from Easy Access to Juvenile Populations [https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezapop/] and Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics [https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/].

 

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