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Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Courts, 1991

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1994
3 pages
Data on delinquency cases processed in U.S. juvenile courts in 1991 address the number and trends, the number placed in detention, intake decisions, races of processed juveniles, and adjudication and out-of-home placements.
In 1991, juvenile courts in the United States processed 1,338,100 delinquency cases (cases in which a juvenile was charged with an act that would be a criminal law violation for adults). Juvenile courts processed 5 percent more delinquency cases in 1991 than in 1990 and 16 percent more than in 1987. In 20 percent of the delinquency cases in 1991 the juvenile was securely detained. In 49 percent of these cases, the most serious charge was a property offense. About 25 percent of delinquency cases were dismissed at intake, often because the case lacked legal sufficiency. Another one-quarter of delinquency cases were processed informally, with the juvenile agreeing to pay restitution or to some form of voluntary probation. In half the delinquency cases processed in 1991, the decision was made to process the case formally and hold either a transfer or an adjudicatory hearing. In 44 percent of the cases in which the juvenile was transferred to criminal court, the charge was a property offense; in 34 percent the charge was a person offense. Three of every five juveniles brought before a judge were adjudicated delinquent. Most of the cases not adjudicated were dismissed. Three of every 10 adjudicated cases resulted in placement in a residential facility (113,000 cases), and most of the remainder resulted in court-supervised probation (222,000 cases). White juveniles were involved in 65 percent of all delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts in 1991. Black juveniles were involved in 32 percent of delinquency cases.

Date Published: April 1, 1994