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Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Courts, 1999

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2003
2 pages

This document discusses juvenile delinquency court cases in 1999.


Juvenile courts processed an estimated 1,673,000 delinquency cases that involved juveniles charged with criminal law violations. The number of delinquency cases handled by juvenile courts increased 27 percent between 1990 and 1999. During this time, the number of drug law violation cases increased 169 percent, public order offense cases increased 74 percent, person offense cases increased 55 percent, and property offense cases decreased 9 percent. These estimates are based on data from nearly 2,000 courts with jurisdiction over 70 percent of the United States juvenile population. More than three of every four delinquency cases in 1999 involved a male, a decline from 81 percent in 1990. Between 1990 and 1999, the number of delinquency cases involving females increased 59 percent compared with a 19 percent increase for males. In 1999, 57 percent of the juvenile delinquency cases processed involved a juvenile younger than 16 years old at the time of referral, compared with 60 percent in 1990. In 1999, about 79 percent of the juvenile population in the United States was white, and 15 percent was Black. One of the first decisions made in processing a delinquency case was whether the juvenile should be detained in a secure facility prior to adjudication. After reviewing the case, justice system authorities decide whether to dismiss, informally handle, or formally process the case before a judge. About 17 percent of all delinquency cases in 1999 were dismissed at intake; 26 percent were processed informally; and more than half were processed formally and involved either an adjudicatory hearing or a hearing to consider waiving jurisdiction to the criminal (adult) court. In 1999, juvenile court judges waived 7,500 delinquency cases. In 1999, juveniles were adjudicated delinquent in 66 percent of the 962,000 cases brought before a judge. Once adjudicated, juveniles in 62 percent of the cases were placed on formal probation; in 24 percent of the cases, juveniles were placed in a residential facility.

Date Published: September 1, 2003