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Person Offenses in Juvenile Court, 1990-1999

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2003
2 pages

This document discusses the person offense caseload in juvenile court for 1990 through 1999.


In 1999, juvenile courts handled an estimated 387,100 delinquency cases in which the most serious charge was an offense against a person. Person offenses include assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. The 1999 person offense caseload was 55 percent greater than in 1990. Person offense cases accounted for 23 percent of all delinquency cases in 1999, compared with 19 percent in 1990. In 1999, juvenile courts handled 13.2 person offense cases for every 1,000 juveniles age 10 through the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction. The person offense case rate increased 35 percent between 1990 and 1999. The case rate for property offenses decreased 20 percent between 1990 and 1999, while the drug offense case rate grew 135 percent and the rate for public order offenses increased 52 percent. Homicide was the most serious charge in 1,800 cases handled in 1999. This was less than 0.5 percent of all person offense cases handled by juvenile courts in 1999. The majority of person offense cases involved charges of simple assault or aggravated assault. Compared with 1990, juveniles involved in person offense cases in 1999 were slightly younger and more likely to be female. In 1999, 64 percent of person offense cases involved juveniles younger than 16 years old, compared with 62 percent in 1990. Nearly two-thirds of person offense cases in 1999 involved white youth, 34 percent involved Black youth, and 3 percent involved youth of other races. Sixty percent of the 387,100 person offense cases disposed by juvenile courts in 1999 were handled formally. Of these petitioned cases, slightly more than 1 percent were judicially waived to criminal court, more than half were formally adjudicated delinquent in the juvenile justice system, and 36 percent were petitioned but not adjudicated delinquent. In 26 percent of the 147,800 person offense cases formally adjudicated by juvenile courts in 1999, the most severe disposition imposed by the court was placement out of the home in a residential facility.

Date Published: September 1, 2003