This report describes the delinquency and status offense cases handled between 2001 and 2002 by United States courts with juvenile jurisdiction and describes trends since 1985.
This report supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency describes the delinquency and status offense cases handled between 1985 and 2002 by United States courts with juvenile jurisdiction. National estimates of juvenile court delinquency caseloads in 2002 were based on analyses of 1,047,793 automated case records and court-level statistics. Status offense case profiles were based on 18 years of petitioned status offense case records. Data were obtained from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive by more than 2,000 courts with jurisdiction over 75 percent of the juvenile population in 2002. The report presents national estimates of delinquency cases handled by the juvenile courts in 2002, and analyzed caseload trends from 1985. The report describes the volume and rate of delinquency cases, sources of referral, demographic characteristics of the juveniles involved, and offenses charged. The report continues in tracing the flow of delinquency cases through the courts, examining each decision point (i.e., detention, intake decision, judicial decision, and judicial disposition), as well as data by demographic characteristics and offense. The report concludes with a sample based profile of status offense cases formally handled by the juvenile courts between 1985 and 2002. Together, a national portrait of delinquency cases is provided. In addition, this report includes descriptions of total petitioned status offense cases handled by courts with juvenile jurisdiction. Previously, the description of petitioned status offense cases has been limited to runaway, truancy, ungovernability, and liquor law violation cases only. The total petitioned status offense analyses include miscellaneous offenses, thereby providing an overall description of formally handled status offense cases. Tables, figures, and appendixes A-C