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Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Courts, 2004

NCJ Number
Anne L. Stahl
Date Published
February 2008
2 pages

This Fact Sheet provides 2004 statistics on juvenile delinquency cases.


In 2004, juvenile courts in the United States processed an estimated 1.67 million delinquency cases that involved juveniles charged with criminal law violations; between 1995 and 2004 the number of delinquency cases handled by juvenile courts actually decreased by 7 percent. However, during this time, public order offense cases increased 41 percent, drug law violation cases increased 19 percent, person offense cases increased 2 percent, and property offense cases decreased 33 percent. In 2004, juvenile males accounted for 80 percent of drug law violation cases, 73 percent of property offenses, 72 percent of public order offense cases, and 70 percent person offenses. While male delinquency caseload decreased 13 percent between 1995 and 2004, delinquency cases involving juvenile females increased 14 percent. 57 percent of juvenile delinquency cases processed in 2004 involved juveniles younger than age 16 at time of referral, compared with 60 percent in 1995. In 2004, white youth accounted for 78 percent of the delinquency; Black youths 16 percent; and Asian, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander youth 1 percent. Juveniles were detained in 21 percent of the delinquency cases processed in 2004. Seventeen percent of all delinquency cases were dismissed at intake. Another 26 percent were processed informally while more than half of delinquency cases in 2004 were processed formally and involved either an adjudicatory hearing, or a hearing to consider waiving jurisdiction to the criminal adult court. In 2004, court judges waived 9,400 delinquency cases, 18 percent fewer than in 1995, and 21 percent more than in 2000; juveniles were adjudicated delinquent in 67 percent of the 940,800 cases brought before a judge. Sixty-three percent of the adjudicated juveniles were placed on formal probation, 22 percent went to a residential facility, and 15 percent resulted in other dispositions, such as a referral to community service.